Amadeus, Sabre To Shutter Moneydirect Joint Venture

Joint venture partners Amadeus and Sabre by this fall plan to close their Moneydirect multi-channel payment processing firm "to focus on growing their core businesses," according to Moneydirect CEO Agustin Diaz-Sanchez.

Amadeus and Sabre globally "have decided to manage payment activity for their own Moneydirect customers, while Moneydirect in Australia and New Zealand will refer customers to payment solutions provider eNett," according to Diaz-Sanchez. Travelport is the majority owner of eNett.

In a July 4 announcement of a strategic partnership with competitor Moneydirect, eNett said it would "honor for the first 12 months the existing fee structure currently used by Moneydirect customers who are not already using eNett International's payments platform." ENett added that it expected the Moneydirect customer transition to be completed by September 30. Tnooz first reported that deal Monday.

In response to queries from The Beat, emailed statements attributed to to Diaz-Sanchez indicated that Moneydirect's owners "reviewed a number of options.The decision to close the company was taken after carefully considering all of these options and the relevant customer impact. It is prudent for companies to regularly evaluate and evolve their business strategies to meet new needs in the market. The priority is now on facilitating a seamless transition for customers over the next few months."

Those customers number about 8,500 across nine countries, including Australia, New Zealand and markets in Europe and the Americas. Most are travel agencies and a "large majority," according to Diaz-Sanchez, are located in Australia and New Zealand, where the company originated 20 years ago as a subsidiary of Amadeus to serve a large tour operator.

Amadeus IT Group and Sabre Holdings in 2007 launched the Moneydirect joint venture to expand the payment processing entity beyond Australasia and to pursue business from corporate travel and retail agencies. The European Commission in 2007 approved the 50-50 joint venture, headquartered in Ireland. The joint venture legally formed a year later and expanded to the United States, United Kingdom and France. In 2009, it expanded to Canada, Germany and Italy as a global payment, settlement and reconciliation option for hotel and ground bookings and commissions.

Last year, Moneydirect announced deals with Flight Centre Limited's U.S. wholesaler GoGo Worldwide Vacations to process all agency commission payments, and with Asia/Pacific's The Jetset Travelworld Group to become its "preferred payment processing solution for all its retail travel brands."

When it announced the JTG deal in June 2010, Moneydirect cited almost 13,000 customers and management of more than $3 billion in annual global travel payments. Asked how much Moneydirect processed in its last fiscal year, a company spokesperson said they "do not disclose annual figures."

PSP International created payment competitor eNett also to serve the Australian market. In 2009, PSP International forged a joint venture with Travelport, which holds the majority share, to expand the payment services for travel agents, ticket consolidators, wholesalers, airlines, hotels and car rental firms. ENett offers the travel industry processing for credit cards, electronic funds transfer and virtual accounts as well as merchant services. Through its feeNett, the company offers airlines a service to process fees for merchandizing, change fees, ticket reissues, onboard purchases and surcharges.