Amex GBT Broadens Middle East Footprint

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American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) is strengthening its presence in the Middle East through a new collaboration with Kanoo Travel, Travel Daily Media reports said Tuesday (Aug. 13).

Their joint venture sees Amex GBT acquiring a majority stake in the travel management network, a deal reports said will enable Amex GBT to broaden its corporate travel services in the region. United Arab Emirates-based Kanoo Travel is already a member of Amex GBT’s global travel partner network, reports noted.

“The creation of the joint venture will enhance how we service those clients and their travelers by combining Kanoo’s region-specific expertise with the backing of GBT’s global scale and technology,” said Amex GBT Managing Director of International Elyes Mrad in a statement.

“Our own clients in the Middle East will profit in the long term from having access to GBT’s total travel and expense ecosystem, proprietary technology and global reach,” added Kanoo Travel President Nabeel K. Kanoo in another statement.

Under terms of the agreement, Amex GBT will hold 65 percent of the firms’ joint venture, which will be based in Dubai. Their deal remains subject to regulatory approvals.

Earlier this year Amex GBT announced the acquisition of DER Business travel, the corporate travel unit of DER Touristik Group, based in Germany. The takeover strengthens Amex GBT’s position with small and medium-sized businesses, the company noted at the time.

In 2016, the company announced its takeover of KDS, based in France, after partnering with the company in 2014. That year Amex GBT had chosen Kyriba as its payment processor to streamline payments to corporate travel suppliers.

As Amex GBT broadens its corporate travel services through global M&A activity, the company is also exploring shifting trends in the business travel and expense management space, including the impact of on-demand services like Airbnb. In 2016 the company became the first T&E firm to collaborate with the homesharing company.

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