EXPERIENCE CO ACQUIRES TWO TOURISM COMPANIES IN FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

EXPERIENCE CO ACQUIRES TWO TOURISM COMPANIES IN FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

FAR North Queensland's (FNQ) tourism business is in for a boost now that one of Australia's leading adventure tourism groups has acquired two iconic brands in the area for just over $56 million.

Experience Co (ASX: EXP) has announced its acquisition of Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises and Tropical Journeys.

Between them, the two acquired groups operate a number of FNQ experiences including harbour tours, tropical tours, snorkelling and diving, sailing and trips through the Daintree rainforest.

The announcement coincides with Experience Co's largest capital raise, with the company seeking $60.9 million through an accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer.

Experience Co CEO Anthony Ritter says the acquisitions are part of his plan to make the company the biggest and most respected adventure tourism company in the world.

"While Experience Co's existing tourism offerings in Far North Queensland are growing from strength to strength, our newest string of acquisitions will help us position so many more world class experiences to both domestic and international customers who want to see what the region and beyond has to offer," says Ritter.

The acquisitions are expected to improve Experience Co's earnings in its first full year of ownership, FY19, by $11.1 million.

Managing director of Experience Co, Anthony Boucaut, says the acquisitions represent a significant business milestone for the listed company.

"Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises and Tropical Journeys are not only leading tour operators in Far North Queensland that will see us expand our footprint in the region, but they also represent our very first acquisition under our new company name, Experience Co," says Boucaut.

Headquartered in Cairns, Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises is one of Queensland's leading Great Barrier Reef tour operators, offering full day and half day cruises to Green Island and twilight cruises from Cairns harbour.

Tropical Journeys is renowned for its snorkelling and diving tours of the Great Barrier Reef, departing from Port Douglas, and for its personalised tours of the Daintree National Park.

This marks the fourth acquisition for Experience Co in FNQ this year, following takeovers of GBR Helicopters last month and Reef Magic Cruises in May.

The company also acquired Byron Bay Ballooning in August of this year and Raging Thunder Adventures in October of last year.

These latest acquisitions will be finalised on 13 December and 18 December of 2017.

Experience Co changed its name from Skydive The Beach following a triple fatality tragedy in October.

The company immediately suspended operations on 13 October after three people died following a skydiving accident near the company's Mission Beach dropzone.

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