Tourism giant TUI reported an operating loss of Euro227 million for the first three months of the year, about 1% less than the same period last year.

However, winter losses are normal in the holiday industry and the figures suggest an underlying 37% improvement since TUI has absorbed former rival First Choice following their merger last September.

The group’s quarterly turnover reflected the merger, rising 24% year on year to more than Euro5 billion.

The figures include both TUI’s tourism and shipping businesses, with the group likely to divest the latter and concentrate on tourism following a board meeting today.

The meeting promised to be stormy, however, with one major shareholder seeking the head of TUI chairman Jurgen Krunmow. Shipping entrepreneur John Frediksen holds just over 11% of  TUI AG, which is the major shareholder in the London-listed TUI Travel.

TUI may raise up to Euro5 billion by selling shipping company Hapag-Lloyd, wiping out the debt of more than Euro3 billion on its tourism business and leaving cash for acquisitions.