The operator of Skydive the Beach is planning to expand the business by acquiring Trees Adventure.
Experience Co chief executive officer John O' Sullivan said the acquisition will complement the company's existing tourism adventure portfolio and will provide access to a previously untapped domestic leisure market. It will also increase the size of Experience Co's workforce to around 1000 people.
Mr O'Sullivan said diversifying the business was a smart business strategy. As Australia emerges from more COVID lockdowns the acquisition means Experience Co will be in a stronger business position to grow with more activities in many parts of the adventure market while staying true to its origin.
"Obviously the business has had a harder trading environment over the last couple of years with the bushfires and then COVID-19," he said.
"I guess what we are doing strategically now is resetting the business with a bit more diversification. But we are still very much looking at experiences and adventure. From the perspective we are still staying true to what Anthony Boucaut and Tamara created with Skydive the Beach back in 1998."
Trees Adventure has 350 employees and operates 14 locations in five states which are visited by 400,000 people a year. It has two more adventure parks set to open within a year at Ku-ring-gai and Northern Queensland. And its brands include Trees Adventure, Tree Tops, Next Level and Hollybank Wilderness Adventures.
When borders reopen holiday markers looking for adventure will have access to Trees Adventure attractions in Victoria, Queensland, NSW, Western Australia and Tasmania. The closest for Illawarra residents is Trees Adventure Nowra Park. It is presently closed but based on the present NSW Government road map out of lockdown Mr O'Sullivan expects it will reopen in late October.
"We compliment the Skydive the Beach drop zone with the Trees Adventure site at Nowra," Mr O'Sullivan said.
"We think this acquisition gives us really good exposure to the domestic leisure market. It is still in the adventure category, it is an experience based product and it is market leading and will really compliment what we think is already a good business. Trees Adventure certainly has a bit more resilience built into it by virtue of the local area catchment it appeals to."
Mr O'Sullivan said the acquisition was on track to be completed by the end of October which was really good timing with so many people screaming to get outdoors again.
"We are very excited. We also think there is a great opportunity around corporate groups and team building in the business events market when things return to normal."
Mr O'Sullivan said the acquisition was part of Experience Co's ongoing strategic growth plan and will provide the company with more access to the intrastate leisure and recreation market which will soon be less impacted by state and international border closures. He said the move will set the company up for more growth by adding diversity to the company's existing customer base because treetop rope courses, netparks, ziplining and canopy tours were frequently enjoyed by families and school groups.
Mr O'Sullivan said Trees Adventure's younger audience were the skydivers of tomorrow.
"We want to capture their interest in adventure experiences from an early age," he said.
Mr O'Sullivan said Trees Adventure was a major acquisition for Experience Co which, despite the present lockdown, has been on a growth curve since it purchased Wild Bush Luxury and The Maria Island Walk early in 2021. To fund the acquisition the company has announced the launch of an entitlement offer for existing institutional and retail shareholders on the Australian Stock Exchange.
"We have gone into a trading hold for the next two days," he said.
Mr O'Sullivan said Trees Adventure will form the cornerstone of a new Family Adventure division at Experience Co.
The company has three other divisions. The Great Barrier Reef division offers tours in Far North Queensland. The Skydiving division has 17 drop zones throughout Australia. And the Premium Adventure division incorporates the Wild Bush Luxury brand which offers a range of walking, accommodation and wilderness camp experiences across the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania.
Trees Adventure co-founders Nicolas Dansin and Marc Flaster and their current management team will remain with the company and help Experience Co explore new ideas and opportunities.