Fintrax, the Galway-based tourist VAT refund and dynamic currency conversion specialist, has announced its expansion into the South Korean market through a joint venture agreement with the LOTTE Group, South Korea’s fifth largest conglomerate. The LOTTE Group deal will see both groups tap into the booming tax refund market in Korea which has grown tenfold since 2010.
This latest expansion builds on recent new market entries into Finland, Malta, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Lithuania as Fintrax continues to expand its global business.
Established in 1985, Fintrax Group has become the second largest tourist VAT refunding business in the world, through its brand, Premier Tax Free. In the past four years, the company has doubled its group workforce and its workforce in Ireland, and now employs almost 800 people worldwide, with 150 of these based in three locations across Ireland, including its headquarters in Galway.
In Ireland, it operates in 5,750 stores including well-known outlets Brown Thomas, Arnotts, Weirs and brand names such as Pandora, Hugo Boss and Karen Millen.
Commenting on its expansion into the South Korean market, Patrick Waldron, Group CEO said “South Korea is a very attractive market for us due to its proximity to both China and Japan. It welcomed over 15 million visitors to its country in 2016 and its tourism industry is projected to grow strongly over the next five years. We are delighted to work with LOTTE group and our ambition is to become the number 1 provider in the market over the next few years”
Gary Byrne, Group Director for New Markets, who heads Fintrax’s Asian Strategy added “Our push into South Korea reflects our Asian growth ambitions and we will continue to expand in this region throughout the next few years”.
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About Fintrax Group
Founded in Ireland in 1985, Fintrax is the parent company of Premier Tax Free, one of the world’s leading Tax Free Shopping (TFS) companies, which enables eligible international travellers to claim back VAT on retail purchases. The company is also active in the Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) market, allowing international travellers to pay for goods and services in their own currency in shops, hotels or restaurants.
Fintrax operates in 34 countries, serving 14,000 retail merchants with over 150,000 stores. Its main clients include leading luxury and retail brands such as Chanel, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Christian Dior, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren, and destination department stores such as DFS, Printemps, El Corte Ingles and Brown Thomas.
The largest shareholder in Fintrax is Eurazeo, a leading French listed investment company, who invested €550m in 2015 for a 90% stake.