TUI plans fundraising once travel demand returns

Fritz Joussen (pic: Bloomberg)

BERLIN • Holiday giant TUI AG could seek to raise about €1.5 billion (RM7.5 billion) through a rights issue and asset sales once bookings recover and the company starts generating meaningful revenue again.

TUI will look at selling some of its 400 hotels and UK cruise arm Marella, CEO Fritz Joussen  said in a briefing at the Frankfurt press club. A rights issue would also require a recovery in the share price, he said.

Debt at the Hanover-based travel firm has been inflated by a €3 billion German government bailout after the coronavirus pandemic wiped out much of the summer vacation season. Joussen said TUI will also trim its aircraft fleet by as many as 30 planes.

Following what’s expected to be a “very volatile” winter for travel, future demand trends may become apparent between January and March, when most bookings for summer package holidays are typically made, the CEO said.

Sales for 2021 so far mostly involve vouchers handed to customers for trips cancelled this year, so that revenue will remain depressed even with relatively healthy occupancy levels. TUI is trimming capacity by about a fifth to bolster margins on new bookings.

The company sold its Hapag- Lloyd luxury and expedition cruise business in July and is looking at a similar option for Marella. It will also sound out investment fund interest in purchasing hotels, Joussen said.

The fleet will be cut to 120 planes, building on an agreement with Boeing Co to defer delivery of aircraft worth €900 million. — Bloomberg