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American Express GBT to acquire Finnish travel management company

Staff at SMT, a travel management company, to join GBT family when sale is finalised later this year

Pictured: Elyes Mrad, American Express GBT’s managing director, EMEA

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has announced it is acquiring Finnish travel management company (TMC) SMT, a subsidiary of Finnair.

The acquisition signals a "milestone" in American Express GBT's strategy, while an SMT spokesman said it would help its business stay ahead of fast-changing issues such as security and technology.

Staff at SMT will join American Express GBT staff when the acquisition is finalised later this year.

Elyes Mrad, GBT’s MD EMEA, said: “SMT has a customer-centric approach to business and is driven by a passion for delivering superior customer service. This, of course, is underpinned by its profound knowledge of the Finnish marketplace. It is a natural fit with GBT. Companies and organisations in Finland and around the world will continue to benefit from SMT’s local expertise, and the advantages of GBT’s global scale and access.”

Steven Curts, GBT’s chief strategy officer, said the acquisition was an important step in the evolution of GBT’s global business.

"At GBT, we are focused on improving our customer experience, offerings, and footprint through acquisitions, partnerships and organic growth. The purchase of SMT is an exciting milestone on this strategic journey," he said.

SMT was formed in 2013 after the merger of the two largest Finnish-owned business travel agencies, Area Travel Agency and Finland Travel Bureau. The company provides travel management and meeting and event services to customers throughout Finland.

Paakkari said: “SMT's main strategic objective is to be a leading provider of corporate travel services in Finland. Joining GBT accelerates our progress toward that objective. We have motivated, productive and innovative employees. Our dynamic business style, combined with GBT's resources, will make us a powerful and effective business travel partner for companies across Finland.”

Juha Järvinen, chief commercial officer of Finnair and chairman for SMT’s board of directors, said: "SMT will flourish within the innovative and dynamic growth environment provided by GBT. If TMCs are to succeed, they must stay ahead of technological developments while adopting a serious and effective approach to traveller security. GBT will provide the ideal platform to develop SMT's business in Finland  going forward."

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