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Ebix Acquires Two Leading Travel Companies – Mercury Travels and Leisure Corp, to Launch Niche Luxury Travel Brand

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga., Aug. 02, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ebix, Inc. (NASDAQ:EBIX), a leading international supplier of On-Demand software and E-commerce services to the insurance, financial, healthcare and e-learning industries, today announced that one of its Indian subsidiaries has signed agreements to acquire Mumbai based Mercury Travels and Delhi based Leisure Corp for a cumulative amount of approximately $14.2 million, with the goal of creating a new Travel Division to focus on a niche segment of the travel market.

The new Travel Exchange named Mercury - An EbixCash Luxury initiative, will focus on the luxury, events and sports related traveler and will be led by the Leisure Corp Founder Naveen Kundu. The Mercury Exchange will have the following three tightly integrated components –

  • Mercury Travel's entire corporate, leisure & adventure related travel business with the exception of its Forex business
  • Leisure Corp's entire sports and events related travel business (MICE)
  • Via.com's events based travel business (MICE)

Mr. Naveen Kundu will hold 15% shareholding in this new Mercury initiative, while Ebix will have a controlling 85% share in the venture. Mercury's Forex business will be integrated into EbixCash's existing CDL Forex exchange business.

The acquisition of Mercury and Leisure Corp will increase the employee strength of Ebix in India by around 400 employees to approximately 7,600 employees. With the creation of this new luxury Mercury Division, Ebix will now have two brands in travel focused on different niche audiences – Via and Mercury.

Ebix believes that the Mercury business initiative can continue to grow at the rate of 20% or more annually with operating margins of 30% or more, once fully integrated. Ebix expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to its earnings and forecasts 9 cents in increased Diluted EPS, once the acquisitions are fully integrated over the next 6 months. Ebix funded the acquisition using its internal cash reserves and did not use any investment bankers for the transaction.

Incorporated in 1948 as an Oberoi Hotel Group Company, Mercury is a popular luxury travel brand with a pan India Network of 40 Preferred Sales Agents (PSAs), 20 Branch offices across 16 major cities in India, 350 employees, and an Extended reach in international markets through marketing offices in London, Hamburg & Frankfurt. Amongst other travel related services like Events based travel and insurance, Mercury also has a Foreign Exchange business serviced through its AD-II license issued by the Reserve Bank of India.

The Company is also seen as a leader in the adventure space, with specialization in organizing adventure safaris, sea water rafting and Himalayan expeditions. The Company also owns an adventure hotel property through its Mercury Himalaya Expo joint venture.

Mercury has multi-year contracts and associations with airlines, bus operators, hotels, etc., besides having a client base that includes leading names like the Oberoi Hotels chain and the Mahendra Group. Mercury also has 54 franchisee partnerships for undertaking money-changing activities, with leading hotels like Hyatt, Oberoi, Imperial, etc.

Incorporated in 1997, Leisure Corp today is one of India's leading players in the Events related travel space (MICE) & Luxury Trains and Luxury travel, with a focus on the insurance and financial sector & incoming Luxury travelers. The Company's core competency is to provide a customized range of services from conceptualization, design, budgeting, planning to execution of large corporate meetings and conferences, involving thousands of attendees. The Company also specializes in creating tailor-made packages for the sports travelers, with exclusive travel agent rights from India for premier world sports events like the recent FIFA Football World Cup in Russia and the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in London. Leisure Corp has exclusive tie up with Luxury Train travel in India with Palace on Wheels, Maharaja's Express and Golden Chariott. It is poised to become the market leader in Luxury inbound train travel by 2020.

Leisure Corp has an impressive client base spread across the insurance and Finance sector in India, including Companies like ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Yes Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, Max Life, ICICI Assets Management, GE and Honda, etc. The Company has a rich history of partnerships with many renowned hotel chains like Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, W Hotels and the Leading hotels & Resorts of the World.

Ebix intends to consolidate these two acquisitions into its Financial Exchange, EbixCash, while bringing significant synergies and redundancies to the combined operation.  The acquisition of the Omni-channel Business, would further strengthen Ebix's position in the Financial Exchange market in India, as travel transactions can be one of the key areas of any leading financial exchange, with an estimated user base of 600 million in India alone.

"I am excited to join the Ebix family and lead EbixCash's new Mercury initiative. With affluence and an upper middle class continuing to grow in India, it is time to have a travel exchange that can provide high standards of service and luxury like never before to this section of the society," Naveen Kundu, Founder and Managing Director of Leisure Corp said. "I have spent my career conceptualizing and implementing creative event based travel programs for the corporates, sports enthusiasts and the adventure travelers. We will now try to blend that expertise and niche focus, with our focus on luxury and creating new white labeled travel properties."

Ebix Chairman, President and CEO Robin Raina said, "Mercury has built a reputation for itself in the affluent luxury market place with its levels of service, built around the high standards associated with an effort backed by the Oberoi Hotels chain. Leisure Corp is a leader in the events based travel business space with a clear focus on the financial and insurance industries. We are excited to be able to bring these two leading companies together, with the goal of creating a pioneering luxury travel initiative. Between this Mercury initiative and our existing Via.com travel initiative, EbixCash is now uniquely positioned as an Financial Exchange that has end-to-end travel solutions for all sections of the society."

Via is recognized as a leader in the travel space in India, besides being the only profitable Travel exchange out of all its peers, while having grown at a CAGR of 45% over the last 3 years. The Via distribution network encompasses over 85,000 agents in India, 14,700 agents in Indonesia, 9,900 agents in Philippines, 600 agents in Singapore and 350 agents in UAE and Oman. Besides being one of the leaders in the space in India, the Company has emerged as the largest travel solutions provider in Philippines also. With a hotel inventory of over 500,000 hotels and one of the largest ticketing platforms expanding across corporates and distribution outlets, Via has a significant share of the domestic & international airline ticketing business. Via has more than 5% share in both domestic & international airline ticketing in India, 10% in Philippines, 2.7% in Indonesia, 2.1% in Singapore.

Leadership in India's Financial Exchange markets

The addition of the Mercury and Leisure Corp to the EbixCash portfolio further strengthens Ebix's leadership in India's Financial Exchange markets:

  • EbixCash already has a dominant leadership position in the inward remittance exchange arena in India.
  • EbixCash is already the largest domestic remittance exchange in India with domestic remittance volume of approximately $100 million per month.
  • EbixCash is seen as a leader in the outward remittance and Forex markets, with Forex counters in 25 international airports, besides a vast network encompassing 165 outlets spread across 55 cities, 200+ franchisee partners, 2,000+ travel agents, 50+ banks and financial institutions, 1000+ SMEs, and 150+large corporate clients.
  • EbixCash through its travel portal Via.com is one of South East Asia's leading travel exchanges with over 110,000 distribution outlets and 8,000 corporate clients, processing over 24.5 million transactions every year.
  • EbixCash is also a recognized leader in prepaid cards, domestic remittances and bill payments, processing approximately 600,000 transactions per day and approximately $2 Billion in annual payment volume.
  • EbixCash is already recognized as a leader in the Gift card space with brand gift cards across all categories with 100+ Brand copartners like Amazon, Flipkart.com, Croma, Lifestyle, Big Bazaar, Tanishq, BookMyShow.com, Reliance Digital, MakeMyTrip.com, Café Coffee Day, Pizza Hut, Myntra.com, Pantaloon, etc.
  • EbixCash is a leader in the utility payment space serving as a payment exchange for large utility providers like BSES, Tata Power, NDPL, Reliance Energy and Mahanagar Gas, etc.
  • Ebix's recent joint venture initiative with Bombay Stock Exchange positions it as a gateway for insurance carriers to sell insurance to India's vast population through EbixCash's tens of thousands of "phygital" outlets across the country, besides BSE's strong network across the country.
  • Ebix's recent acquisition of Indus positions it as a lending technology player who today is the backbone lending engine for over 100 banking and finance, captive auto finance, telecom and insurance companies globally.

About Ebix, Inc.

With 50+ offices across 5 continents, Ebix, Inc., (NASDAQ:EBIX) endeavors to provide On-Demand software and E-commerce services to the insurance, financial, healthcare and e-learning industries. In the Insurance sector, the Company's main focus is to develop and deploy a wide variety of insurance and reinsurance exchanges on an on-demand basis, while also, providing Software-as-a-Service ("SaaS") enterprise solutions in the area of CRM, front-end & back-end systems, outsourced administrative and risk compliance, across the world.

With a "Phygital" strategy that combines 260,000 physical distribution outlets in many Southeast Asian Nations ("ASEAN") countries, to an Omni-channel online digital platform, the Company's EbixCash Financial exchange portfolio encompasses leadership in areas of domestic & international money remittance, Forex, travel, pre-paid & gift cards, utility payments, lending, etc., in an emerging country like India. The Company's Forex Exchange has an approximate 70% market share of India's airport Foreign Exchange business encompassing 25 international airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata International airports, while conducting over 1 million transactions per annum. EbixCash, through its travel portal Via.com, is also one of Southeast Asia's leading travel exchanges with over 110,000 distribution outlets and 8,000 corporate clients processing over 24.5 million transactions every year. For further details, visit www.ebixcash.com

Through its various SaaS-based software platforms, Ebix employs thousands of domain-specific technology professionals to provide products, support and consultancy to thousands of customers on six continents. For more information, visit the Company's website at www.ebix.com 

About Mercury Travels

Incorporated in 1948 as an Oberoi Hotel Group Company, Mercury is a popular luxury travel brand, that offers a wide variety of travel and tourism services to the leisure travelers and corporates both. With a pan India Network of 40 Preferred Sales Agents (PSAs), 20 Branch offices across 16 major cities in India, 350 employees, and an Extended reach in international markets through marketing offices in London, Hamburg & Frankfurt for inbound holidays, Mercury has an impeccable service record in the travel industry. Amongst other travel related services like Events based travel and insurance, Mercury also has a Foreign Exchange business serviced through its AD-II license issued by the Reserve Bank of India.

Winner of the Best Outbound Luxury Operator Award at the India Travel Awards-West 2017, Mercury offers the best-in-class holiday packages with off-beat destinations & experiential offerings targeted at the high-end/premium travelers. The Company is seen as a leader in the adventure space, with specialization in organizing adventure safaris, sea water rafting and Himalayan expeditions. The Company also owns an adventure hotel property through its Mercury Himalaya Expo joint venture. For more information, visit the Company's website at www.mercurytravels.co.in

About Leisure Corp

Incorporated in 1997, Leisure Corp today is one of India's leading players in the Events related travel space (MICE) & Luxury Trains business, with a focus on the insurance and financial sector clients. The Company's core competency is to provide a customized range of services from conceptualization, design, budgeting, planning to execution of large corporate meetings and conferences, involving thousands of attendees. The Company also specializes in creating tailor-made packages for the sports travelers, with exclusive travel agent rights from India for premier world sports events like the recent FIFA Football World Cup in Russia and the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in London. Winner of the coveted National Tourism award twice in 2011-12 and 2014-15, Leisure Corp is in the business of creating memorable experiences for corporate and sports travelers. For more information, visit the Company's website at www.leisurecorp.in/ and www.Therailjourneys.com

About Via

Incorporated in February 2007 in Bangalore, India, the Company is one of the fastest growing & profitable travel companies in Asia's online space driven by technology. The Company is a leading distributor of transportation ticketing, accommodation reservation, packaged tours, corporate travel management, travel ancillaries, retail and financial services. The company offers its services through a robust, highly scalable cloud based technology platform consisting of mobile apps, websites, corporate platform, and a centralized, toll-free, 24-hour customer service center.

VIA's Corporate Travel Management Business unit helps corporate clients effectively manage their travel needs and significantly reduce travel expenses. VIA expanded its footprints to Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and UAE. Today, Via's network includes over 110,000 active travel partners across 2,700 towns and cities & over 13,000 pin codes across Asia and over 7000+ signed SMEs. For more information, visit the Company's website at http://www.via.com

About EbixCash

An Ebix Group initiative, EbixCash is emerging as one of the leading Financial Exchanges in India. With a ‘Phygital" strategy that combines 224,000 physical distribution outlets to a Omni-channel online digital platform, EbixCash has established an enterprise financial exchange portfolio that encompasses leadership in money remittance (domestic & international), travel, pre-paid & gift cards, utility payments, etc. Ebix's recent joint venture initiative with Bombay Stock Exchange positions it strongly in India's insurance sector. EbixCash's portfolio of products can be accessed digitally anywhere as also across its distribution outlets spread over 5,500+ cities and towns. For further details, visit www.ebixcash.com

SAFE HARBOR REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

As used herein, the terms "Ebix," "the Company," "we," "our" and "us" refer to Ebix, Inc., a Delaware corporation, and its consolidated subsidiaries as a combined entity, except where it is clear that the terms mean only Ebix, Inc.

The information contained in this Press Release contains forward-looking statements and information within the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. This information includes assumptions made by, and information currently available to management, including statements regarding future economic performance and financial condition, liquidity and capital resources, acceptance of the Company's products by the market, and management's plans and objectives. In addition, certain statements included in this and our future filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), in press releases, and in oral and written statements made by us or with our approval, which are not statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. Words such as "may," "could," "should," "would," "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "intend," "seeks," "plan," "project," "continue," "predict," "will," "should," and other words or expressions of similar meaning are intended by the Company to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. These forward-looking statements are found at various places throughout this report and in the documents incorporated herein by reference. These statements are based on our current expectations about future events or results and information that is currently available to us, involve assumptions, risks, and uncertainties, and speak only as of the date on which such statements are made.

Our actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause such a difference, include, but are not limited to those discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent reports filed with the SEC, as well as: the risk of an unfavorable outcome of the pending governmental investigations or shareholder class action lawsuits, reputational harm caused by such investigations and lawsuits, the willingness of independent insurance agencies to outsource their computer and other processing needs to third parties; pricing and other competitive pressures and the Company's ability to gain or maintain share of sales as a result of actions by competitors and others; changes in estimates in critical accounting judgments; changes in or failure to comply with laws and regulations, including accounting standards, taxation requirements (including tax rate changes, new tax laws and revised tax interpretations) in domestic or foreign jurisdictions; exchange rate fluctuations and other risks associated with investments and operations in foreign countries (particularly in Australia, UK and India wherein we have significant operations); equity markets, including market disruptions and significant interest rate fluctuations, which may impede our access to, or increase the cost of, external financing; and international conflict, including terrorist acts.

Except as expressly required by the federal securities laws, the Company undertakes no obligation to update any such factors, or to publicly announce the results of, or changes to any of the forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect future events, developments, changed circumstances, or for any other reason.

Readers should carefully review the disclosures and the risk factors described in the documents we file from time to time with the SEC, including future reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K, and any amendments thereto. You may obtain our SEC filings at our website, www.ebix.com under the "Investor Information" section, or over the Internet at the SEC's web site, www.sec.gov.

CONTACT:

Aradhanaa Agarwal 
+91-99300 13188 or aradhanaa@ebixcash.com

Darren Joseph
+1-678 -281-2027 or IR@ebix.com

David Collins or Chris Eddy
Catalyst Global +1-212-924-9800 or ebix@catalyst-ir.com

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