FCm Travel Solutions has strengthened its position in Central Europe by signing a new partnership deal with Columbus Travel Management.

The Austrian agency, among the top three in the country, will re-brand as FCm Travel Solutions Austria.

Columbus, a part of the Columbus ihr Reiseburo company, has its headquarters in Vienna and a second office in Linz.

In 2006, it had a turnover of €26m and a staff of 26. Clients include Eli Lilly, the Austrian Broadcasting Company and IKEA.

Under the new agreement, Columbus will be “overseen” by FCm’s partner in Germany, FCm DER Business Travel.

FCm said that as a “sign of long term commitment”, the two companies were discussing a “financial undertaking at a future date.”

Brian Donnelly, FCm’s director network development EMEA, said: “Our agreement with DER Business Travel last year to become FCm’s regional partner for central Europe means that we have been able to accelerate our growth in that area.

Franziskus Bumm, head of key account management and sales, FCm DER Business Travel said: “Austria is the ‘gate to the East’ and plays a significant role in the business travel sector, in particular in view of the eastern EU expansion.

“We have found a competent and reputable partner in Columbus Travel Management.”

Martina Grimus, managing director of the Columbus business travel division, added: “This partnership, primarily in view of the increasingly globalised business environment, will allow us to offer valuable synergies and ideal solutions with respect to technology, international servicing concepts and purchasing conditions for our existing local business partners.”

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