The Ludv. G. Braathen shipping company was founded in 1926
The forerunner to Braganza was established by Ludvig G. Braathen in 1926, as a shipping company. Braathen went on to become one of Norway’s largest shipping owners in the 1950´s.
Ludvig G. Braathen founded the airline Braathens SAFE in 1946. The company specialised in freight transportation to the Far East and South America before expanding into domestic air travel.
The Braganza AS company was established in 1938 as part of Ludv. G. Braathen’s Shipping Company.
Ludv. G. Braathen established the Braathens SAFE airline in 1946 in order to fly manpower and spare parts to ships in Asia and South America.
The airline company grew rapidly after a slow start in the 1950s and 1960s, and acquired its first jet, a Boeing 737, in 1969. Eventually through Braathens SAFE, Braathens Helicopter and Busy Bee the airline business became the Braathen family’s main business. In addition, the family also owned for a variety of periods a number of industrial companies, tour operators and other travel businesses.
In the course of the 1990s, Braganza concentrated its business more and more on the Braathens SAFE airline, which was stock market listed in 1994. In 1997, Braganza divested 30 percent of Braathens SAFE to the Dutch airline KLM, but remained as major shareholder with 38 percent of the shares.
Kristiansand Zoo was one of Braganza’s early investments, the first shares were purchased in 1995.
A new age started for Braganza in 1996, when the remaining owners and the newly appointed CEO Geir Stormorken laid out a new strategy for the company, which focused more on financial investments.
The first industrial investment was made in the Swedish-American aircraft leasing company Indigo Aviation, and since then Braganza has been an active investor within aircraft leasing. Indigo Aviation was listed on the NASDAQ in New York and subsequently sold in 2001.
In 1998, Braganza embarked on the active management of listed equities, at first through the Braganza Asset Management company and then from 2004 through the establishment of Saga Equity Fund. Saga Equity Fund was open to professional external investors, and the Saga Asset Management company had a concession from the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway. At its peak, the fund held NOK 1.4 billion for management and was closed down in 2008 before the financial crisis had made its full effect felt. Subsequently, Braganza has only a small part of its portfolio in the form of listed equities and a major part in industrial investments. Today, an eight percent shareholding in Clavis Pharma ASA is the largest stock market listed investment.
In 2002, Braganza sold out of Braathens following the bid submitted by SAS for the entire company and delisted the company from the stock exchange. As part of the agreement relating to the sale of Braathens, Braganza acquired all of the shares in the Swedish domestic airline Malmö Aviation in 2002. Later in 2002, the assets in Braganza were divided as a result of an agreement between the three remaining owners, who are all grandchildren of founder Ludv. G Braathen. Per G. Braathen then became sole owner of Braganza. As a result of the change in ownership, the company gradually changed its strategy towards industrial investments, primarily within travel and tourism and related sectors.
Per G. Braathens private investment company was integrated Braganza in 2002, and with this there followed a number of travel and tourism investments, which are today part of the Braganza portfolio. The largest of these is SunHotels, which is a B2B hotel booking supplier on the internet. The company is the leading player by far within this segment in the Nordic countries and is now expanding beyond the Nordic borders.
Escape Travel in Norway was established by Tove Voss and Per G. Braathen in 2004. Escape Travel AB was started in 2008.
Braganza became majority owner in Kristiansand Zoo in 2004, and owner of the whole company in 2006.
In 2004 and 2005 Braganza acquired approx 30 percent of 2Entertain AB after Göran Grell became the new corporate CEO. The shares were sold in 2007 after an extremely successful turnaround and the consequent substantial increase in value.
Arken Zoo AB is today the leading player within its sector in Sweden with a franchise turnover of around SEK 600 million. Braganza acquired the company in 2006. In 2012, Arken Zoo will have more than 90 shops in Sweden and Norway.
In 2007, Braathens Aviation was set up as a holding company for Braganza’s airline business in Sweden. The group consists of Malmö Aviation, Braathens Technical, Braathens Training and Braathens IT Solutions. Transwede Airways was established as an ACMI provider in 2006, but was forced to discontinue business in 2009 when the market completely collapsed during the financial crisis.
The internet company Europareiser was acquired in 2008. The company has two brands: Hotellweb.no offers web-based hotel booking via local domains throughout the Nordic countries. The subsuppliers are SunHotels and Expedia. Stay.com makes travel planning a fun and social activity. Upload your own travel guide to the internet and book a hotel at the same time.
In 2008, Braganza invested in Jetscape in 2008, and today owns 11 percent of the company. Jetscape is the most important investment within aircraft leasing. In addition to this the company owns several aircraft which are operated by Malmö Aviation and Sverigeflyg. Jetscape doubled in size after the merger with M1 Commercial Jets early in 2011, and today the company is a leading player in its own segment as lessor of Embraer E-Jets to airlines throughout the world.
In 2009, Braganza acquired 30 percent of Ticket Travel Group. The rest of the company was acquired in 2010, and after delisting from the Stockholm Stock Exchange, Braganza owns all of the largest private segment travel agency chain in the Nordic countries. The company is divided into two separate entities: Ticket Leisure Travel and Ticket Corporate Travel Ticket Leisure Travel has revenue of SEK 3.5 billion and today has approx 80 travel agencies in Norway and Sweden and is intensely committed to developing internet sales. In 2010, Ticket Corporate Travel had revenue of approx SEK 1.5 billion within the business segment, primarily in Sweden but it also has companies in both Finland and Norway.
Ticket.com was established in 2010. The aim is to create a simple, personal and social website for ticket sales. ticket.com started to sell theatre and concert tickets to the English market in September 2011.
In recent years, Kristiansand Zoo has increased its level of investment substantially, and in 2010 opened Badelandet – the largest investment ever. In 2010, the amusement park had 760,000 visitors and is familiar to 97 percent of the Norwegian population.
Sverigeflyg, in which Braganza acquired 85.5 percent of the shares in 2011, is today part of Braathens Aviation.
Zleepinghotels is a web-based supplier of hotel bookings. The company was established in August 2011.
In June 2011, Braathens Aviation signed an agreement with Bombardier for the purchase of 10 C Series aircraft for delivery in 2014 and 2015 – along with an option for another 10 aircraft. Malmö Aviation’s current fleet of aircraft will be replaced when the C Series is delivered. This will involve an environmental revolution in terms of emissions of CO2 and NOx, and a halving of noise levels, including when compared to competitors’ most modern aircraft. The new aircraft will consume 25-30 percent less fuel than today’s jets.
In 2011, Braganza purchased JK Safaris in Sweden and Scandinavian Cruise Centre in Denmark.
In 2012, an even larger investment opened - Abra Havn, a spectacular pirate village theme park with themes from Pirate Captain Sabeltann – which can accommodate more than 1000 people in the high season. When completed, a total of approx NOK 300 million will have been invested in the park over a three year period.
In 2012 Braganza bought Golden Air which is a regional airline in Sweden, operating both as a commercial airline with one domestic route out of Bromma Stockholm Airport and as an ACMI-provider for other airlines. In 2013 Golden Air changes name to Braathens Regional.