Actively Carrying Out the Globalization Strategy Tempus Group and Bain Capital Private Equity Jointly Acquires Trans Maldivian Airways
Dec 19, 2017

December 18, 2017, Hong Kong - Tempus Group has taken an important step towards globalization. Bain Capital Private Equity ("Bain Capital"), Shenzhen Tempus Global Business Services Holdings Ltd ("Tempus Global") and TBRJ Fund 1 L.P. have formed a consortium to acquire Trans Maldivian Airways ("TMA"), a leading seaplane operator headquartered in the Maldives. The two listed companies of Tempus Group, Tempus Global and Tempus Holdings, both participated in the acquisition. After the transaction, the A share-listed Tempus Global will own nearly 5% of TMA through its overseas wholly-owned subsidiary. The JV of HK-listed Tempus Holdings, TBRJ Asset Management, will hold approximately 15% stake in TMA through its USD fund TBRJ Fund 1. The rest 80% will be owned by Bain Capital.

Drew Chen, a managing director at Bain Capital Private Equity, said "Our partnership with Tempus Group will enable us to capitalize on the growing leisure market in China, one of the world's largest outbound tourism markets, given the Company's longstanding operations there."

TMA is the Largest Seaplane Operator in the World

Founded in 1992, TMA is a leading seaplane operator carrying approximately 400,000 passengers annually from Velana International Airport in the Maldives' capital of Malé, to luxury resorts located on 1,192 coral islands. TMA has 49 twin otter aircrafts and approximately 900 employees from 20 countries. It provides an exclusive, high-end travelling experience for passengers, and serves more than 60 resorts and 28 resort lounges. TMA's services include resort transfers, photo flights, private charters, excursions and medical evacuation flights. It conducts around 50,000 flights per year.

TMA is Planning to Enter China

In recent years, Tempus Global has continuously increased investment in the field of tourism. It has established Tempus Tour Group and invested in CncnTours and Octopus Online Travel. Together with Joy Tour Group, Tempus Global has built a unique tourism ecosystem which provides diversified travel products and services to both upstream and downstream clients.

Since this year, Tempus has launched 20 international charter flight routes, reaching Milan, Moscow, Chiang Mai, Bali, Palau and other popular destinations. It has become the largest charter flights operator domestically. Tempus has also invested in shopping centers, hotels, scenic destinations, transportation, and other tourism infrastructure to gain the local market share rapidly.

The investment in TMA is an attempt by Tempus to enter the high-end tourism market. Shujie Wang, the chairman of Tempus Tour, said: "Next year, we plan to launch the charter flight from Shenzhen to Malé, the capital of Maldives. We will communicate with TMA closely. We are optimistic about the synergy between our charter flights and the seaplanes."

Meanwhile, TMA is seeking opportunity to enter Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. The twin otter aircraft has obtained the Airworthiness Certificate from Civil Aviation Department of China. Jacky Huang, director of Tempus Group and Chairman of TBRJ Fund, said "We are optimistic about the possibility that TMA conducts business in China, including Hainan, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau. China has a long coastline and many islands. Twin otter aircrafts have high reliability and applicability. New markets present huge opportunities. Both TMA management team and Tempus hope the plan could make substantial progress.

The Deal Echoes "One Belt and One Road" Initiative

Since the Maldives became a major destination for Chinese outbound tourists in 2002, the number of Chinese tourists has grown rapidly and China has become the largest source country for six consecutive years. This cross-border M&A deal is a milestone for Shenzhen enterprises to participate in the "One Belt and One Road" Initiative. It will greatly boost the tourism industry in the Maldives.

Maldives actively responded to the "One Belt and One Road" Initiative and was one of the earliest countries to sign the "Memorandum of Understanding on the Maritime Silk Road in the 21st Century" with China. It is also one of the founding members of Asian Development Bank. On December 7, Chinese and Maldivian governments formally signed the free trade agreement. Currently, the two countries are carrying out full cooperation in infrastructure such as roads, housing, bridges, airports, power stations and hotels. The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge and the new International Airport built by Chinese companies will be completed in 2018. TMA will be amongst the first batch of relocated companies at the new airport.

Mr. Huang also added, "The investment in TMA is not only for business purposes of Tempus, but also responding to the "One Belt and One Road" Initiative. We hope the completion of the transaction could provide more options to Chinese tourists on the back of consumption upgrade and strengthen the relationship between China and the Maldives."

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution