Today, Finnair signed an agreement to sell its Finnish business travel agency, SMT Oy, to American Express Global Business Travel (GBT). The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2016.
SMT has been a partner within the GBT network for 27 years. As one company, SMT and GBT will strengthen the service provided to European and global customers while retaining the expertise and flexibility in the Finnish market to deliver a high standard of service to local customers. Companies and organizations in Finland and around the world will continue to benefit from SMT’s local expertise, and the advantages of GBT’s global scale and access.
“GBT as an owner guarantees SMT an innovative and dynamic growth environment. Travel management and meetings & events companies need to invest in fast-developing technology in order to stay competitive in their core business. GBT has all the right prerequisites to succeed and further develop SMT’s business in Finland. The Finnair Group decided to divest SMT now after its successful business turnaround and due to Finnair’s strategic target to focus on its core airline business,” said Juha Järvinen, Chief Commercial Officer of Finnair and chairman of SMT’s Board of Directors.
SMT was formed in 2013 after the merger of the two largest Finnish-owned business travel agencies, Area Travel Agency and Finland Travel Bureau. Under the leadership of Kirsi Paakkari, SMT has adopted an increasingly lean and entrepreneurial approach to the marketplace.
Paakkari said: “SMT’s main strategic objective is to be a leading provider of corporate travel services in Finland. Joining GBT accelerates our progress toward that objective. We have motivated, productive and innovative employees. Our dynamic business style, combined with GBT’s resources, will make us a powerful and effective business travel partner for companies across Finland.”
SMT is a travel agency specialising in corporate travel. It offers tailored duty travel services to companies of any size. The company has approximately 200 personnel located throughout Finland. As previously disclosed, SMT’s Baltic subsidiary Estravel was sold in December 2015 to local business partners.
GBT provides leading travel solutions, integrated consulting services, proprietary research, and end-to-end meetings and events capabilities. These innovative offerings enable clients to optimize the return on their travel and meetings investments. GBT has operations and network partners in nearly 120 countries worldwide with approximately 12,000 employees.