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Abta property sale bolstered funds following £15m loss

Abta sold its former central London head office in October to slash its deficit following a loss in excess of £15 million in the 12 months to June.

A £2.5 million loss on Abta’s membership operations during the financial year was swelled by a loss of £12.7 million by the association’s in-house or ‘captive’ insurer due to the failure of Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) parent South Quay Travel and Leisure in July 2020.

Abta’s accounts for the year to June 2021, published in December, make clear the insurance deficit “related mainly” to the cost of South Quay Travel’s failure “exceeding the bond held by Abta”.


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The association paid out almost £23.7 million in total on 17,835 claims during the financial year following the failure of 28 members.

The pay-out following CMV’s administration depleted Abta’s insurance vehicle, Guernsey-based Abta Insurance PCC Ltd, by more than £10 million reducing its value from almost £18.3 million to £8.2 million.

It left Abta with group net assets of almost £25.7 million, down from £39.3 million the previous year – a decline of £13.6 million.

However, the sale of the former Newman Street office for £19.65 million to CBRE Investment Management in October restored the association’s finances.

Abta had leased the Newman Street property and drawn on the rental income since moving from Central London to its current headquarters near London Bridge in 2009.

The sale enabled Abta to pay off a £2 million Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) facility it took in July 2021.

The association’s accounts note the sale “does mean giving up rental income which is a significant revenue stream”.

Abta confirmed 149 members left the association in the 12 months to June, reflecting “the impact of Covid . . . and also continuing consolidation within the industry”.

This reduced member numbers to 928 – a figure Abta confirmed in July last year – despite 22 new members joining.

Member turnover in the 12 months declined by more than 50% – down from £40 billion pre-pandemic to £18.6 billion over the financial year.

Abta’s revenue in the year fell due to a 50% discount on members’ subscriptions, which cost the association £3.3 million, and a decline of £830,000 year on year in revenue from face-to-face events including the Travel Convention.

The association noted “a risk that Abta’s subscription income is significantly reduced either due to a large number of failures . . . or because of depressed trading levels”.

However, it reported: “Steps have been taken to ensure Abta has the flexibility to adjust to changing revenue levels”.

It promised “a review of the subscription model and the services delivered by Abta”.

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