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Pan European online travel agency - ebookers.com - has bought UK-based Lawson Interline Travel Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

Although financial details were not disclosed the company said that the acquisition of core assets was made at a "fraction of the £1million" paid for the company last year.

Interline travel is a niche sector of the travel market - providing exclusive discount airline fares and hotel sales to employees within the travel industry - particularly within airlines and travel agents.

Last year Lawson Interline racked up gross sales of £4 million, although fell into liquidation following the September 11 terror attacks in the US.

Ebookers.com said the acquisition is expected to make a "positive cash contribution" to its business in Q1 2002.

Earlier this month ebookers.com said it expected to report narrowing losses when it publishes its Q3 results at the end of the month.

In common with most of the travel sector its business suffered in the immediate aftermath of September 11. However, it maintains that the results for the period between July and September will represent a "significant advance towards achieving positive cash flow".

The company is also in the process of shedding up to 20 per cent of its workforce in a bid to cut costs. Exact details of the losses - which could be as high as 120 jobs - are due to be finalised by the end of the month. ®

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