Announcement by Adventium Technology Group Pty Ltd (WebsiteTravel)
We are writing to provide an update on the status of the WebsiteTravel Global Marketplace (WebsiteTravel) and the impact this has on your business. We want to let you know our plans to navigate through the significant challenges of the Covid-19 shut down and how we will be positioned for the recovery we all hope and expect to see in the second half of 2020.
Today the Board of Imperium Tourism Holdings Pty Ltd appointed Henslow www.henslow.com to undertake a $12.0m Capital Raise on behalf of Adventium Technology Group Pty Ltd, the owner of WebsiteTravel.
WebsiteTravel has operated for over 15 years and whilst there have been some ups and downs for the business over this period, there has been nothing of the magnitude of Covid-19 crisis. Government mandated shutdowns have brought adventure and experiential travel to a complete standstill and like Virgin, Flight Centre, WebJet to name a few, we have not been immune to this significant negative impact on our business.
The platform has operated on a going concern basis for the duration of this period and this has served the marketplace and industry well. This operating model was the basis on which Imperium Tourism Holdings Pty Ltd acquired the business in July 2018 and we have made no substantive changes to this model since our acquisition. Our focus has been on investing in our people and technology to deliver an enhanced platform and new products. Whilst we had some scenario planning around a slowdown in the sector, we did not anticipate that the Australian bush fires and the Covid-19 crisis would have such an extreme impact on the business.
Like most marketplaces, WebsiteTravel is an asset light company and operates on a negative working capital model. Unfortunately, this model has unwound at such a rapid pace as a result of Covid-19 government enforced shut-downs, that we now need to undertake to raise new capital to repair the balance sheet to ensure that all obligations are met. This will ensure the business is sufficiently resourced to continue to grow and benefit from the recovery in travel and tourism.
Consequently, pending completion of the Capital Raise, to ensure the survival of the WebsiteTravel platform, Adventium Technology will be suspending payments to all agents, operators, suppliers and customers during this period. Our intention is to complete the Capital Raise by the end of April and to ensure that all outstanding payments are made in early May. (Note this is subject to change without notice in the event there is a delay in completing the Capital Raise for any reason).
Two important business changes will occur as a result of the Covid-19 Crisis and the Capital Raising:
1. Agent and Operator Fund
We will introduce an Agent and Operators Fund which will be used to segregate all agent and operator funds that flow through WebsiteTravel. This account will be audited quarterly by respected auditors, Grant Thornton Australia.
2. New Board and Governance Structure
Adventium Technology Group Pty Ltd will be a standalone business outside the Imperium Tourism Holdings Pty Ltd structure, with its own dedicated Board and Executive Team, led by an independent Chairman Rod Cuthbert.
Rod has extensive experience in the management and development of global travel marketplaces having been the founder and CEO of Viator Inc, one of the world’s leading travel and experiences marketplaces. Rod will be supported by two other independent directors who have strong financial, governance or tourism expertise and myself as the major shareholder. In addition, a new CFO has been appointed to the business – Jason Eveleigh who has extensive experience as a public company CFO, an owner and operator of a tourism business and is ex global accounting and audit firm Ernst and Young.
The company will be looking to appoint a new CEO within 6-12 months of the Capital Raise to lead and develop the ‘go to market’ initiatives to assist the company to achieve and exceed its targets over the next 2 years. Rod was instrumental in the appointment of our CTO, Jordan Digby, who was the founding CTO for Viator as well as a number of other travel technology companies.
The board and staff are committed to successfully navigating the business through these very challenging times and believe that the steps we are taking are in everyone’s best interest as this will achieve the following:
1. Strengthen the company balance sheet to ensure that all stakeholders are paid
2. Provide further funds to pay for the ongoing development of the various platforms and the marketplace to ensure it maintains its position as Australia and New Zealand’s premier adventure travel marketplace and position for expansion into new revenue sectors as per its strategic plan
3. Provide ongoing working capital during the Covid-19 Crisis until the business can return to its normal operating profit position.
The recapitalised and restructured WebsiteTravel will continue to be Australia and New Zealand leading marketplace and a key post Covid-19 distribution platform as the industry recovers.
Adventium Technology is focused on product enhancement and development during the ‘shutdown period’ and will be able to accelerate a number of new initiatives which will enhance the distribution available to operators as the recovery starts.
Whilst we appreciate this is a difficult, challenging and frustrating time for our clients, partners and employees we believe that it is in every one best interests that the Capital Raising is successful and we thank all our industry partners for their support.
Adventium Technology Group Pty Ltd