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TUI eyes capital raise after swinging back to profit

Published 12/14/2022, 02:10 AM
Updated 12/14/2022, 06:08 AM
© Reuters. The logo of of German travel company TUI AG is seen outside of one of its branch offices in Vienna, Austria, December 27, 2016.    REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/Files

By Sarah Young and Ilona Wissenbach

LONDON (Reuters) -TUI, the world's largest holiday company, said it planned to repay COVID-19 support through a capital raising next year after a strong summer helped it swing back to profit and it forecast a "solid" 2023.

Germany-based TUI, which operates holidays, hotels, cruise ships and an airline said it would start to cut its dependence on the German state, whose help enabled the group to survive the pandemic.

Chief Financial Officer Mathias Kiep said TUI would need to raise between 1.6 billion and 1.8 billion euros through a capital raise to start repaying its German loans.

That news weighed on its shares. The stock dropped 6% to 138 pence in morning trading, paring gains made over the last month. It has already lost 40% of its value in 2022.

"The extent of potential equity dilution will depend on prevailing appetite and share price," said Stifel analysts, noting that sanctioned Russian shareholder Alexei Mordashov cannot participate in any rights issue.

SOLID OUTLOOK

TUI said 2023 would be solid and it guided to a significant increase in earnings. For the year to end-September, TUI on Wednesday posted underlying earnings (EBIT) of 409 million euros ($435 million), compared to a 2 billion euro loss the previous year.

Bookings for next year were stable and average prices higher, TUI said, adding that it was aware of the difficult economic outlook.

European consumers are grappling with the highest levels of inflation in a generation but to date demand for holidays has proved resilient. Strong appetite for travel meant Lufthansa, Europe's second biggest airline, upgraded its 2022 profit forecast on Tuesday.

TUI's new chief executive Sebastian Ebel, the former CFO who is two months into the top job, said that holidaymakers were trading down, choosing cheaper destinations, like Turkey over Spain, or Egypt over the Dominican Republic.

The group was also seeing a normalisation in travel trends after last summer, when pent-up savings from two years without travel in the pandemic meant people took longer breaks and picked more expensive hotels.

TUI's capital raise plans will need approval from shareholders at the group's annual meeting in February, and the exact sum raised will depend on demand during the current winter season, it said.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of German travel company TUI AG is seen outside one of its branch offices in Vienna, Austria, September 18, 2016.  REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

The new funds will be used to repay Germany's Economic Stablisation Fund (WSF) a sum between 730 million euros and 957 million euros. In return it will receive back the equivalent rights to its shares. It also plans to cut it credit lines from development bank KfW.

($1 = 0.9399 euros)

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