The acquisition of Language Courses Abroad Limited and its Apple Languages and Spanish Study Holidays brands by Jos Van Kerkhof of StudyTravel had the full backing of IALC.
As of 4 December, StudyTravel took control of the company, a result that was welcomed by the 24 IALC members who are owed money by LCA and whose support helped to secure the successful bid.
The IALC schools’ backing of the StudyTravel bid was influenced by Van Kerkhof’s cooperation and openness with LCA creditors. Van Kerkhof (pictured) informed IALC by telephone in October of his aim to buy LCA, and quickly established direct contact with the group of affected members, who had mobilised under the leadership of IALC Board member Florian Meierhofer of BWS Germanlingua. A second Board member, Celestine Rowland of Galway Cultural Institute, played a significant role in the subsequent meetings in the UK and Spain.
"We supported the StudyTravel bid because Jos endeavoured to engage with the IALC creditors and other creditors throughout the process. He did not minimise the task ahead, or the number of years it would take to pay back the debt. We found him very credible in his intention to solve the problem" said Meierhofer.
An LCA collapse would have left many students as well as schools out of pocket and would undoubtedly have made headlines outside the study travel media. "When Jos first called, he was particularly concerned about the damaging effect of a high-profile insolvency on the credibility of our industry. This was a key motive for him in putting together an offer to rescue the company," said IALC Executive Director, Jan Capper.
Current and future bookings of LCA Ltd will be paid by the new company, Apple Language Courses, which will also do its utmost to repay the historical debts over the next three years.
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