In a move that’s set to create one of the biggest travel companies in Australia, helloworld and AOT announced a merger today, with the transaction to be completed in January 2016.

The new merger, which was expected after talks earlier this month, will create a travel company that’s more competitive according to Jenny MacDonald, who was today appointed acting Chief Executive.

“The merger of Helloworld and AOT Group Limited will create a single travel company that is larger, stronger and more competitive.”

Jenny Macdonald, Acting Chief Executive, helloworld

Since the announcement this morning, helloworld’s stock has risen 10.61 percent on the ASX.

AOT is a leading, privately owned, travel services provider with operations in Australia and globally, operating in the inbound, government and wholesale sectors of the travel industry. It is a growing and profitable business, generating revenue of $55.8 million and underlying EBITDA of $14.3 million in FY15.

The merger with AOT aims to bring significant strength in inbound and wholesale travel management and accommodation program management and will bolster HLO’s existing retail, wholesale and government travel businesses.

With effect from completion of the Transaction, Andrew Burnes, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of AOT, will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of HLO. Cinzia Burnes, co-founder of AOT and the Chief Operating Officer of AOT will also be appointed as an Executive Director.

From completion of the transaction, the Board of HLO will be reconstituted to comprise, in addition to Andrew and Cinzia Burnes, an independent non-executive Chairman, an independent non-executive Director (who will chair the audit committee) and a nominee of each of HLO’s other major shareholders, being Qantas (initially Rob Marcolina), Sintack (initially Peter Spathis) and Europe Voyager (initially Andrew Cummins).

According to the group, the helloworld and AOT merger will enable the new company to better compete against their major competitor, Flight Centre.

What do you think of this new merger between these two Australian travel companies? Let us know in the comments below.