Jetset Seeks Expansion But Mum on Qantas Tie-Up


Australian travel agent Jetset Travelworld said on Thursday it was looking at expansion opportunities but declined to comment on a report it may merge with Qantas Airways' travel business.

"We're constantly exploring business opportunities, particularly given that the travel industry is currently subject to considerable consolidation," Jetset Chief Executive Michael Reed said in a statement.

Qantas was looking at merging its holiday business, valued at about A$290 million, with Jetset and possibly taking a large stake in the firm, The Australian Financial Review newspaper said in an unsourced report.

Jetset and Qantas declined to comment on the report.

Jetset's share price hit a record of A$3.43 last week. It closed Wednesday at A$3.15, valuing the company at about A$290 million (US$259 million).

Qantas, the target of a failed buyout bid earlier this year, has said it is looking at separating its main business units and selling parts of its frequent flyer program and freight operation.

Australia's travel retail sector has benefited from strong demand for holidays due to a robust economy and a high Australian dollar, which makes overseas travel cheaper.

Two online travel agencies are locked in an A$55 million bidding war for, while Flight Centre said earlier this week it is targeting 15 percent profit growth in the 2008 business year thanks to positive trading conditions.