Tour operator TUI to raise €1.1bn by selling new stock

Share sale will allow company to reduce its draw on a state-backed rescue loan to zero

TUI has raised billions of euros from three bailouts since the pandemic hammered its core business

TUI has raised billions of euros from three bailouts since the pandemic hammered its core business

 

TUI will raise €1.1 billion by selling new stock, making it the latest travel company to tap investors for cash to reduce a giant pandemic debt pile.

The share sale, at a discount price of €2.15 each in a rights offering, will allow the world’s biggest tour operator to reduce its draw on a state-backed rescue loan to zero, TUI said on Wednesday in a statement.

Airlines have been selling stock to firm up balance sheets as easing border restrictions begin to revive bookings. Deutsche Lufthansa said it would raise €2.14 billion in a rights issue to help pay down a €9 billion government bailout package, while EasyJet announced a £1.2 billion capital raise last month.

Shares of Hanover, Germany-based TUI, fell as much as 2.6 per cent before trading little changed at 329.1 pence in London, where it has its main listing.

Bloomberg reported in June that the company was exploring ways to raise about €1 billion in fresh capital to help it pay back state bailouts.

TUI has raised billions of euros from three bailouts since the pandemic hammered its core business, taking mainly British and German tourists to warm-weather destinations. The company, which operates airlines, hotels and cruise ships, has relied on the German government and private investors to pitch in on prior financing.

Equity fundraising

With the TUI offering, European airlines will have announced $8.91 billion in equity fundraising this year, out of a global total of $21.8 billion for the industry as a whole, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.

Air France-KLM, Jet2 Plc and Wizz Air Holdings Plc are among other carriers in the region that sold shares earlier in 2021.

Airlines have had a total of $243 billion in government support, according to the International Air Transport Association, approaching half of which needs to be paid back.

A return to positive cash flow this past summer gives TUI’s management some breathing as it plots an exit from the crisis, provided the recovery doesn’t falter yet again.

The company also said on Wednesday it expects a wider return to international travel this winter season with capacity significantly better than last year. Still, it expects to operate only at 60 per cent to 80 per cent of normal levels.

The fully underwritten rights offering, at a 35 per cent discount, will cut TUI’s debt to € 6.5 billion from €8.7 billion, the company said. Top shareholder Unifirm will exercise rights for its entire 32 per cent stake. Unifirm is controlled by the family of Russian billionaire Alexey Mordashov. – Bloomberg