Innovation: EUR 200 million loan for Amadeus
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union’s long-term financing institution, has granted a loan of EUR 200 million for Amadeus IT Group, S.A., subsidiary of Amadeus IT Holding S.A. (Amadeus: “AMS.MC”), a leading travel technology partner and transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry, with the latter acting as the guarantor of the transaction.
The loan, which has a nine year maturity, will be available from 24 May and will be used by Amadeus to finance the research & development of a variety of projects in the area of IT for airlines, airports, hotels, and rail between 2012 and 2014.
There are two tranches to the loan: one with a notional value of EUR 150 million, with semester repayments after the third year; and a second tranche with a notional value of EUR 50 million, with semester repayments after the fourth year.
The EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by its member states. In 2011 it provided finance totaling €61 billion. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. One such goal is to promote the implementation of the knowledge economy, such as education, research & development and innovation.
Continued investment in innovative IT solutions is central to the Amadeus ethos and approximately EUR 2 billion was invested in R&D between 2004 and 2011. EUR 364 million was invested in R&D during 2011, representing 13.4% of revenues. Globally there are sixteen R&D centres, currently housing over 4,000 people, and many of these are European based, including the central R&D centre in Nice, plus London, Antwerp, Aachen, Frankfurt, Strasbourg, and Warsaw.
Philippe de Fontaine Vive Curtaz, Vice-President, European Investment Bank says:
“This EUR 200 million development loan to Amadeus achieves our objective of making long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. Amadeus’ commitment to innovation and proven track record in developing successful IT solutions fits naturally with our commitment to promoting the European knowledge economy.”
Luis Maroto, President & CEO, Amadeus comments:
“We are honoured to be recognised by an institution as prestigious as the European Investment Bank. We feel this is further proof of our long-term commitment to developing innovative customer-focused solutions such as our airline IT platform, the Altéa Suite, which is now used by 107 of the world’s leading airlines. We will use this EUR 200 million loan to continue developing world class IT solutions that will revolutionise the travel industry.”
The Amadeus status as a leader in R&D was confirmed in October 2011 when Amadeus once again maintained its sector rankings as one of the leading companies in Europe for investment in R&D by the European Commission (EC). The 2011 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, an annual report published by the EC, examined the largest 1,000 European companies investing in R&D during 2010 and ranked them according to the total amount invested. Amadeus gained first place in the computer services category and a number one ranking in the area of travel and tourism; it also increased its overall ranking by 11 places, rising from number 78 in 2010’s report to number 67 out of the 1,000 companies ranked in 2011.
Amadeus’ R&D efforts are particularly focused on: extremely high performance transaction processing under stringent system availability and dependability requirements; information mining from very large data-bases; super-responsive travel search engines; and multi-channel customer servicing applications (agent desktop, web, kiosk, mobile, tablets). Previous examples of Amadeus’ successful approach to R&D include the development of the Amadeus Altéa Suite, a community-based airline IT platform that consists of three modules covering reservation, inventory management and departure control – which is currently used by 107 airlines, including some of the world's leading airlines, and last year processed 439 million Passengers Boarded (PB).
 Passengers Boarded (PB): actual passengers boarded onto flights operated by airlines using at least the Amadeus Altéa Reservation and Inventory modules. A PB is the key metric for charging in the Amadeus IT transactional revenue business line.