Sabre to buy 51% stake in German firm

Tuesday, June 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Sabre Holdings Corp. said Monday it has agreed to buy 51 percent of Dillon Communication Systems GmbH of Hamburg, Germany, as part of a major push into Europe by the Fort Worth-based travel-reservations company.

Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed. But Sabre said the companies together would reach 30 percent, or 5,900, of all German travel agency locations, a nearly six-fold increase for Sabre.

Sabre also said it expects its travel distribution in Germany will double over the next four years.

Chris Kroeger, a Sabre senior vice president, said the acquisition will help both companies target agency chains, franchises and the electronic-commerce market more efficiently.

Sabre announced plans this year to build its market share in Europe, where it has faced entrenched competition. Europe is expected to see significant growth in air travel with the entrance of new low-fare carriers.

Sabre said the added business volume from the Dillon acquisition would make investments in certain kinds of technology more practical. For example, Sabre said, it plans to expand its offerings in Internet-based travel services for wireless devices.

The companies said they expect there will be no job losses as a result of the acquisition, and that they expect to be hiring to serve growing customer needs. Sabre employs 54 people in Germany, and Dillon has 100 staffers.