Tui is seeking a joint-venture partner for UK cruise brand Marella after failing to strike a deal with existing cruise joint-venture partner Royal Caribbean Group.
Fritz Joussen, Tui chief executive, revealed the group is pursuing a deal on Marella following a €1.2 billion sale and JV agreement with Royal Caribbean on German brand Hapag-Lloyd Cruises in July.
Tui has operated Hamburg-based Tui Cruises as a joint venture with Royal Caribbean since 2008.
Joussen discussed Tui’s efforts to raise liquidity after reporting a €3 billion loss for the 12 months to September, saying: “We will examine all levers. I would not rule out anything. It might be restructuring our assets. It might be M&A [mergers and acquisitions].”
But he insisted: “With Marella, the strategy is clear. The ships need to be in a separate investment vehicle. It’s clear what we want to do, but not clear how we will do it. We are certain we will find a solution, but with whom it is not clear.”
“We will take Marella assets off balance sheet. We will get our partners or new partners to finance new ships.”
He argued: “When the crisis has gone there will be an enormous scarcity of supply in the cruise business. Old ships have been scrapped. There will be demand.”
Joussen added: “We will manage our exposure down, take out cost and assets.” But he said: “We will not do a fire sale. We will do things sensibly, strategically.
“We are thinking about financial structures, but that is [at a] less mature [stage] so I can’t comment.”
Asked if he would look to sell Tui’s resort properties, he said: “Hotels are a little different. They have the beauty of a terminal value – different from aircraft and ships.
“Real estate has a relatively low monthly return, but has terminal value – meaning when it ends it still has value.”
Referring to premium brands RIU, Tui Blue and Robinson, Joussen said: “Our club brands we will not sell. Property that is non-core, we may.
“[But] the only thing we are changing is the ownership of properties. We will keep full control of strategic assets – those very important for the group. We only think an investment vehicle might be better.”
Tui announced it had arranged an additional €1.8 billion in liquidity last week through the purchase of shares and guarantees from the German state development bank and the group’s largest shareholder Alexey Mordashov.
Joussen noted: “It’s an unprecedented situation when you don’t have a product and even if you do you have to put services to customers on and off.”
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