HNA Tourism, a subsidiary of the Chinese HNA Group – tipped as looking to take a stake in Monarch Airlines – is acquiring global foreign exchange specialist International Currency Exchange.

The Hainan Airlines owner has reached agreement to take over ICE from UK-based investment holding company Lenlyn Holdings for an undisclosed sum.

ICE has turnover of more than £1 billion in currency a year, operating in 19 countries with a network of more than 350 branches and bureaux in 70 locations including airports.

HNA Tourism has interests across Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Americas, with a fleet of 152 aircraft; 450 hotels across more than 30 countries and territories; 1,102 rental cars and more than 80 travel agencies. 

The company said: “The acquisition of one of the world’s largest currency exchange companies, ICE, adds significant weight to HNA Tourism’s building of an integrated industry value chain, as well as adds wings to our global coverage of financial services for overseas tourism, and will provide important support to the acceleration of the pace of our internationalisation.”

Peter Ibbetson, chairman of Lenlyn Group, said: “ICE is one of the leading global foreign exchange bureau businesses which has been grown by the Lenlyn Group over the past 40 years.

“We are delighted to have agreed to sell the full foreign exchange and ATM businesses to the HNA Group to facilitate further growth within the HNA Tourism franchise.” 

The chief executive of ICE, Koko Sarkari, said: “The acquisition of ICE by HNA Tourism represents a major vote of confidence in the quality of ICE and marks the next phase in the growth story of the company, providing great opportunities for future expansion.

“We have a phenomenal platform from which we can build and grow ICE even further, and I am confident that it will continue to go from strength to strength under HNA.”