COMING UP FAST: Holiday Autos


Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010


MY BEST... was to buy out the two other co-founders of Holiday Autos in 1995. We'd founded it in 1987 but we had different visions for the business. In 1995 company turnover was pounds 29 million, and 95% of our business was from the UK to other countries. My vision was to build an international, global business, but that didn't really suit them, so I bought them out. This year, the company will have a turnover of more than pounds 200 million, of which only 45% is from UK business - the rest is from other countries.

MY WORST... That was our expansion into the US. We had a business there renting to Americans coming to Europe. In 1996 it was going nowhere and I had to decide whether to really invest and get behind it or to pull out. I formed a joint venture with a similar, well-established American company that hadn't been doing so well. But that failed after two years, and we were left with debts of about dollars 5 million. Fortunately, I managed to sell it to Airtours in 2001, although the dollars 7 million sale price didn't cover the losses we'd made over the years. I think a lot of British businesses feel that America is a natural market for them and are fooled by the fact that we speak the same language. But culturally we're worlds apart.

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