MUMBAI, Nov 28 (Reuters) – Indian online travel agency EaseMyTrip is looking to step up acquisitions to bolster its non-air travel business, its co-founder said on Tuesday, as a pick up in demand sets it on course for a strong third quarter.
“We are looking to acquire profitable, asset-light and tech-driven businesses in travel,” Prashant Pitti, co-founder of EaseMyTrip, said in an interview on Reuters’ Trading India chatroom.
While the company has not earmarked funds for acquisitions, it has cash in the bank and the option to use equity as a tool for deals, Pitti added. The company last week said that its board would meet on Thursday to consider an acquisition.
EaseMyTrip, like rivals MakeMyTrip (MMYT.O) and Yatra.com, is looking to cash in on the rebound in travel demand from pandemic’s lows, with a sharp pick up in airlines and hotel bookings.
The portal earns up to 92% of its gross merchandise value from selling air tickets, and commands up to 22% share in the online travel agency market for air travel.
“People have learnt to live in the moment post COVID and that means more spending on luxury travel. Our percentage of business-class flight, and four- and five-star hotel bookings have doubled post COVID,” Pitti said.
The platform, listed on Indian stock exchanges as Easy Trip Planners (EASM.NS), has seen its shares jump over five-fold since listing in March last year. Last month, the company split its stock and issued bonus shares.
The third quarter ending December “is shaping up very strongly,” Pitti said, adding that the company did total business of 5.55 billion Indian rupees ($67.90 million) between Oct. 5 and 23.
Platforms like EaseMyTrip thrive on offering steep discounts to lure customers. Discounting reduced this fiscal year and is seen remaining stable in a range of 2.5%-3%, Pitti said, pointing to the strong demand.
($1 = 81.7400 Indian rupees)
Reporting by Savio Shetty in Mumbai; Writing by Chris Thomas; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil
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