TUI AG plays down talk of bid for Tui Travel

Tui Travel’s majority shareholder TUI AG has sought to dampen fresh speculation that it is considering a takeover of the Thomson-First Choice owner.


A regular meeting of the board of German giant TUI AG next week has given rise to City rumours that it will seek to acquire the 42.5% of shares it does not currently own in the tour operating conglomerate.


But TUI AG would have to offload its 43% shareholding in container shipping company Hapag-Lloyd before being in a position to raise its 57.5% stake in Tui Travel.


Shares in Tui Travel have risen during the week on the back of the renewed speculation that TUI AG is looking to refocus its business around travel.


The global economic downturn over the past two years has prevented TUI AG from reducing its interest in Hapag Lloyd.


Nick Batram, an analyst at KBC Peel Hunt, was reported as saying that any offer for Tui Travel would depend on TUI AG being able to dispose of its stake in Hapag-Lloyd.


“TUI AG’s desire for TUI Travel is well known. The key to unlocking that is Hapag-Lloyd,” he said.


TUI AG said the company’s supervisory board was set for its autumn meeting next week where it will discuss the current position of the business and future growth.


No decision is expected concerning the disposal of the shipping stake or increasing the tourism investment, a spokesman said.


   

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