EQT VII acquired Kuoni Group, a leading service provider to the global travel industry based in Switzerland, in May 2016. The main rationale for acquiring Kuoni was to position its three businesses (GTA, GTS and VFS Global) separately to optimally support Kuoni’s further development. After finding new owners to GTA and GTS EQT’s main focus is on expanding VFS Global’s clear market leadership.

VFS Global is an industry pioneer and the global number one provider of visa process outsourcing services for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide. The company also provides passport, consular, and other citizen services to governments. It has a differentiated market position with leading technologies, infrastructure and capabilities as well as long-term client government relationships and contracts. Its main responsibilities include security checks, information dissemination and form checks for visa applicants, as well as secure temporary capturing of biometric data and identity verification.

To VFS Global

Market trends and drivers

Outsourced visa applications are expected to return to high growth post the Covid-19 pandemic, driven by a growing number of international travelers and an ongoing trend of governments to outsource visa application processes. The company benefits from a diversified business model as it processes a wide range of visas, including resilient categories such as student, work, medical and long-term settlement, in addition to business and leisure visas.

For VFS Global, additional growth potential lies in leveraging its client government relationships (64 governments) and global footprint (more than 3,400 Visa Application Centers in 140+ countries) to further expand into adjacent areas such as passport, consular and other citizen services.

Investment potential

VFS Global perfectly fits EQT’s principles of investing in market leading, founder led, high-quality companies and supporting them to become even stronger and more sustainable for the future. EQT, together with the Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation as owners, intends to enable VFS Global to realize its full potential by leveraging its market leadership position in the continuously growing visa process outsourcing market as well as enhancing growth and diversification through its lesser traveller-dependent and hence more resilient offerings such as passport, consular and other citizen services as well as identity management.

Moreover, EQT supports VFS Global as it strives for further digitalization of visa processes to create a scalable platform that actively shapes the evolving requirements of client governments and customers. Furthermore, EQT will continue to provide VFS Global with access to capital to pursue strategically important acquisitions.

All figures are for VFS Global

Societal contribution

The icons illustrate the portfolio companies' positive societal contributions based on their solutions i.e. how their products and/or services solve key challenges expressed as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Board of Directors

Marco Gadola Chairperson
Vagn Sørensen Board member
Eric Elzvik Board member
Matthias Wittkowski Board member
Andy Jones Board member
Franz Julen Board member
Lis Astall Board member

Management

Zubin Karkaria CEO

Key events since EQT investment

Kuoni Group:

VFS Global: