Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd shares jump on acquisition news, should you invest?

The shares of Australia’s leading travel agent Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) have edged higher in morning trade after it announced its third acquisition in under a month.

Flight Centre has agreed to acquire the business assets of the Bengaluru (Bangalore) Travel Tours Group for an undisclosed fee.

According to the release, Bengaluru Travel Tours Group is a leading local travel group with interests in foreign exchange, the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions sector, and leisure, corporate and wholesale travel.

Through its 18 locations, the family-operated business generated almost $150 million in total transaction value. With Flight Centre’s established businesses generating total transaction value of $419 million in India in FY 2016, this acquisition looks likely to provide a significant lift to its operations.

Flight Centre’s managing director Graham Turner believes the acquisition will make the company a more significant player in an emerging India travel market. Furthermore, he expects it to diverse the company’s offering in the country, which was previously weighted towards the corporate travel side of the market.

According to research by Ernst Young, India is forecast to have a middle class of 200 million people by 2020. Ten years later in 2030 this is expected to have grown to an incredible 475 million.

This, in my opinion, indicates just how important the India market could become over the next decade. So to see Flight Centre growing its presence in the country is very pleasing.

As no financial terms were provided it is impossible to know whether the company has paid a fair price for the acquisition. But with the highly experienced Graham Turner at the helm, I have full faith that the deal will ultimately add value for shareholders.

With Flight Centre’s shares changing hands at under 14x full year earnings, they come at a significant discount to rivals Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB) and Corporate Travel Management Ltd (ASX: CTD). This could well make them a bargain buy in my opinion.

If you need to make room for Fight Centre I would recommend removing these wealth destroying shares from your portfolio today. Each could be holding your portfolio back and may be best swapped out.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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