Dotcom salvages Traveland from Ansett wreckage

A virtually unknown former dotcom is attempting to salvage travel industry icon Traveland from the wreckage of Ansett.

Internova MCI is purchasing the travel company "lock stock and barrel" from Ansett's administrators, according to Internova CEO David Myers.

The deal embraces 104 Ansett-owned Traveland outlets employing about 750 staff plus 275 franchised stores with more than 900 employees, Myers said.

It represents a sharp reversal of the scenario that has seen traditional businesses snap up the remains of floundering new economy enterprises over the past few years.

Internova has no track record in the travel sector industry. However, one of its senior officials, Tony Seera, reportedly is a former Ansett executive who was involved with the airline's acquisition of Traveland.

Seera is tipped to play a leading role in Internova's plans for Traveland, probably as managing director of Internova Travel Pty Ltd, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Internova which will trade in future as Traveland.

Involved with Internova in the deal is a group of travel industry players who are creditors of Traveland.

Myers, who has a finance industry background, declined to disclose the purchase price. He tagged as "wrong" reports that Internova has promised to cover $7 million worth of employee entitlements as part of the deal.

Internova became a public unlisted company several years ago and is a diversified company which can no longer be described as a dotcom, Myers said.

It is acquiring the trading name Traveland from Ansett's administrators but not the corporate entity Traveland Pty Ltd.

Although Internova had long-range plans to purchase a travel company, "this opportunity came up faster than we envisaged, so we had to leap," Myers said.

Internova intends to "go forward with Traveland and build on it".

The strategy will be to concentrate on the family leisure market rather than corporate travellers and Myers dismissed suggestions current global conditions seriously dampen prospects of success for a re-incarnated Traveland.

"You have to understand that Traveland is involved in the leisure aspects of travel. Whatever happens, people will still want to go on holidays. Whether they travel domestically or internationally, they will still be spending their travel dollars.

"We are not involved in the corporate side; we will be providing for the mums and dads."

Internova was launched in South Australia about 1995 primarily as a provider of services such as Web site development. Its own corporate presence on the Web is confined to a Web site called My Community that it has developed for a group of local government councils.

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