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Tui weighs up stock market fundraising after €1.5bn loss

Simon Foy
A TUI Boeing 737 airplane takes off from the airport in Palma de Mallorca - Paul Hanna/Reuters
A TUI Boeing 737 airplane takes off from the airport in Palma de Mallorca - Paul Hanna/Reuters

Travel titan Tui is eyeing a stock market fundraising and the sale of subsidiaries after swinging to a massive half-year loss following a Covid collapse in business.

The firm said all options are on the table in the fight for survival as it unveiled losses of €1.5bn, with revenues collapsing to €71.8m - down 98.5pc on a year earlier.

Tui has secured a fresh €1.2bn (£1.1bn) lifeline from German ministers to help it get through the winter.

When asked if the company is considering tapping up investors for more money and selling off some divisions, chief executive Fritz Joussen said: "Yes that’s what it is. That’s what it is exactly."

Mr Joussen added that any disposals would not be distressed or forced sales and the company would seek a fair price.

Mark Irvine-Fortescue, an analyst at Stifel, said Tui is likely to raise more money through a rights issue as it seeks to rebuild its shattered finances and bring down its high levels of debt.

It is feared the company could face further pain in coming months after new restrictions were imposed amid a fresh surge of infections in Spain and other popular holiday destinations

Tui was at a standstill  for most of the quarter to June, but has partly restarted operations since mid-May. 

However, only 55 of its hotels opened during the period – about 15pc of the total. 

The company said that summer bookings have collapsed 80pc this year, and it has slashed capacity for the winter and summer 2021 by a respective 40pc and 20pc. 

In a rare ray of light for the crippled industry, bosses said that bookings for next summer are already up 145pc on 2020 levels as customers replace holidays cancelled when the crisis hit. 

The company - which employs around 70,000 people - expects a return to normal from 2022. 

Bosses announced plans in May to cut up to 8,000 jobs around the world as it prepares for a smaller holiday market. The move is part of a €300m cost-cutting drive. 

It said last month that a third of  UK high street stores will be shut as part of a radical shift to move operations online, with 900 roles at risk.

Dividend payouts and share buy-backs will be restricted until the German rescue package is repaid, Tui said. It was previously given €1.8bn of state-backed loans in early April by Berlin, taking total taxpayer support to €3bn.

The firm did not provide any outlook for the current financial year, but said it expects to break even in the the three months to September 30. 

Analysts at Jefferies said long-term gross debt levels of around €7bn would be unsustainable and could lead to covenant risks. They added: "TUI's high fixed cost base, capital commitments and more levered balance sheet are not well suited to the current crisis, or in a backdrop of potential industry changes."

Meanwhile Mr Irvine-Fortescue at Stifel added: "The industry recovery looks set to be a bumpy one, with consumer confidence buffeted by U-turns on travel restrictions and quarantine, as well as fear of the virus and the economic outlook."

Shares fell 4.7pc to 350p in afternoon trading. The stock was trading above 900p before the crisis hit.