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Barrhead Travel eyes Australian venture

Mr Munro has ruled out a greenfield opening in Australia and favours the acquisition of a small business that Barrhead could look to build up.

GOING ABROAD: Barrhead chairman Bill Munro plans to expand at home and overseas. Picture: Colin Templeton
GOING ABROAD: Barrhead chairman Bill Munro plans to expand at home and overseas. Picture: Colin Templeton

He said: "We would want to buy an existing business, find out more about it and expand it from there.

"That would allow us to get more familiar with the market and the regulations.

"We have got a few former staff who now live in Australia who have said they will come and work for us if we open up."

Mr Munro confirmed Western Canada was another area under consideration, while further growth in England – possibly through concession stores within supermarkets and franchising – is also planned.

Closer to home, the business, now run on a day-to-day basis by Bill's daughter Sharon, is looking for additional premises in Glasgow city centre.

It hopes to spin out the business travel and luxury tour arms, which are currently housed in its Oswald Street superstore, to their own bespoke site.

Mr Munro added: "We have a lot of plans, and they grow quickly from little acorns.

"We intend having a nice area in the city centre with parking nearby where people can have a coffee or glass of something and book an expensive holiday."

Last month, Barrhead agreed a deal worth about £3 million to buy Falkirk online cruise agency The Holiday Specialists.

Barrhead predicted that the acquisition of the firm, which had turnover of £33m and 60 staff, could see its 2013 revenues rise to more than £200m.

It also bring Barrhead's total staff numbers to about 700, based across more than 30 branches and call centres in Cumbria and Glasgow.

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