- Travel and leisure company Minoan said today it has signed an agreement for the purchase of the assets and business of Stewart Travel Centre.

The business of Stewart, which also trades as Scotland's Cruise Centre, commenced in 1972 and Stewart now employs 67 people. In addition to its cruise division, the group operates Stewart Corporate Travel as well as golf and affinity divisions.

In its financial accounts for the year ended 30th April 2011 Stewart generated a net profit of £107,000 before exceptional items (£143,000 post exceptional items, mainly in respect of an insurance claim) on gross revenues (being total transaction value) of £19.7 million and commission of £2.1 million.

The acquisition of the assets and business of Stewart has been treated as a substantial transaction in accordance with AIM Rule 12.

In the four month period to the end of February, Minoan said the Group's bookings, including Stewart, are down 2% and sales commissions are down 1% relative to the comparable period in the previous year. This compares with tough general market conditions where bookings, according to latest industry figures, are approximately 14% down on the comparable period in 2011. However, in the key trading period of January and February the Group's bookings, including Stewart, are in line with the previous year. In the same period, sales commission is approximately 5% ahead of the previous year.

This positive trend has been achieved during the initial period of integration of the businesses and further improvement is anticipated by the Board following the acquisition of Stewart as all three businesses acquired become fully integrated and the local economies of scale anticipated are achieved.

Christopher Egleton, Chairman, commented: 'We are delighted to have completed the Stewart acquisition, which will further enhance the Group's first regional cluster of travel businesses.

'The initial results of the Group's travel and leisure business are very encouraging and the Board is confident that the full integration of Stewart will serve to further improve the performance of this section of the Group's business.

'he Group is already targeting a number of further travel distribution opportunities whilst continuing to build its online presence and review certain strategic partnerships.'

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