The transaction valued the business at more than £50m and represented an exit for Primary Capital, which invested in Amber in 2005.
The transaction values the business in excess of £50m and generates a return of over three times the cost of investment for Primary, it said. Other Primary investments have included Napier Turbochargers, which was sold in January 2013, PCL Group, Coffee Nation, YO! Sushi, Paperchase, and its most recent investment, Leisure Pass.
With a turnover of £67m, York-based Amber Travel expects turnover growth of over 20 per cent in 2013.
The company operates through three brands, comprising Great Rail Journeys, Treyn and RailSelect.com.
ECI’s investment in Amber follows previous transactions in the travel industry.
Over the last few years, the firm has invested in CarTrawler, the online car rental aggregator, and Reed & Mackay, a corporate travel management services company, and successfully exited LateRooms.com, the online hotels specialist.
Chris Watt, head of ECI’s consumer team, who will sit on Amber’s board, and previously served as non-executive director for previous ECI travel portfolio companies, including Hoseseasons and Kirker. He currently serves on CarTrawler’s board.
Chris Watt, partner at ECI Partners, said, “This is a business with a highly differentiated proposition that appeals to the culturally interested traveller.
“Amber caters for an affluent, growing demographic, that wants to see the world.
“We are very excited about the prospects for continuing growth at the business, and we look forward to working with Nick and his team.”
Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking’s acquisition finance team solely provided a package of senior debt to support the transaction.
ECI’s recent investments in the travel and premium consumer sector include CarTrawler, Reed & Mackay and Rhubarb.
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Other Primary investments have included Napier Turbochargers, which was sold in January 2013, PCL Group, Coffee Nation, YO! Sushi, Paperchase, and its most recent investment, Leisure Pass.