10/29/2012 09:36 EDT | Updated 12/29/2012 05:12 EST

Aimia to grow its stake in Mexican loyalty program Club Premier by paying US$88M

MONTREAL - Aimia Inc., the Montreal company formerly known as Groupe Aeroplan, has an agreement in principle to increase its stake in the loyalty program of Mexico's biggest airline.

Under its deal with Grupo Aeromexico, Aimia (TSX:AIM) will pay US$88 million to raise its share of Club Premier Loyalty & Marketing to 49 per cent from 29 per cent.

Aeromexico will continue to own 51 per cent of Premier Loyalty & Marketing, which operates Club Premier.

"The success of this partnership confirms our strategic vision in entering this important market and choosing the right partner in Grupo Aeromexico, the undisputed leading Mexican carrier," Aimia chief executive Rupert Duchesne said Monday in a news release.

Aeromexico's CEO, Andres Conesa, said the transaction reflects Aimia's confidence in the Mexican airline and in the favourable outlook for the Mexican economy.

"By partnering with clear industry leaders, we have been able to create and unlock significant value for our shareholders," Conesa said.

The Mexican group offers 550 daily flights throughout the Americas as well as to Europe and Asia.

Aimia owns and operates loyalty rewards program Aeroplan and Nectar, the United Kingdom's largest coalition loyalty program.

In addition, Aimia has majority equity positions in Air Miles Middle East and Nectar Italia as well as Cardlytics, a U.S.-based private company operating in merchant-funded, transaction-driven marketing for electronic banking.