Holidaybreak has bought educational tour company NST Holdings for £47.2 million as it continues on the acquisition trail.

The group – owner of trade brands such as Superbreak Mini-Holidays and Explore – said the move will allow it to bolster its education division created earlier this year with the purchase of PGL, which organises trips for more than 250,000 children each year.

Holidaybreak’s subsidiary Holidays Limited bought NST for cash from owners David and John Craven, other family members, family trusts and management. NST’s pre-tax profit was £1 million for the year ending December 31, 2006.

Holidaybreak chief executive Carl Michel said: “This acquisition allows us to grow our education division. We expect to realise significant benefits from the combination. Going forward, we will continue to look for suitable acquisitions and have the capacity to consummate further deals.”

NST, which provides group travel for schools and colleges in the UK and Ireland, carried 172,000 students and educational staff on more than 4,000 trips worldwide last year. Specialist trips include media studies tours to Los Angeles and literature visits to World War I battlefields.

The company also owns a 19th-century French country house, near St Omer in Flanders, which is used as hotel accommodation and operates activity centres in Lancashire and the Ardeche, France.