TUI Group finally sells majority stake in Corsair

TUI Group sells a majority stake in its French subsidiary, a scheduled carrier Corsair. TUI hopes to sell the remaining 27% shares at a later stage.

On March 16, 2019, tourism giant TUI Group has officially confirmed selling a 53% stake of Corsair to Intro Aviation for an undisclosed amount. The group has, for now, retained 27% in the carrier. In particular, now Intro Aviation holds 53%, TUI ‒ 27%, Corsair’s Employee Benefit Trust ‒ 20% in the French airline.

The tourism group has sold the airline as part of its strategy of becoming a “pure play tourism” company. But also because “the French long-haul scheduled carrier is unable to deliver any synergy effects” for the group, which also has five other European carriers – charter ones – under its umbrella, as noted in a official statement.

“We are consistently transforming TUI to focus on tourism, its core business,” TUI CEO Fritz Joussen is quoted in a statement as saying. “Here, we are investing in hotels and cruise ships, and increasingly in holiday experiences in the destinations. These are segments in which we are growing, and where we are continuing to expand our global activities. We are exiting non-core business areas that do not leverage any synergies for the Group. The sale is the right move for TUI and will also benefit Corsair and its staff”.

Corsair will be part of the Intro Aviation core business, according to TUI Group. Corsair operates an aging (average aircraft age is 18.6 years) fleet of seven aircraft: three Boeing 747-400s, expected to retire by 2021, and four Airbus A330-200s.

Corsair is on sale since November 2017, when TUI Group reportedly mandated Rothschild bank to find a potential buyer for the company. In October 2018,after withdrawal of Chinese shareholders of Loong Airlines, the German group Intro Aviation became the sole remaining bidder for a takeover of Corsair International.

This is the second attempt to sell Corsair. The first try happened in 2015. Back then, Dubreuil group, already owner of Air Caraïbes at the time, showed interest for this acquisition. However, in March 2015, following social tensions among Corsair, Dubreuil and TUI, negotiations were dropped. Six months later, Corsair CEO and TUI France president Pascal de Izaguirre announced that “Corsair [was] not on sale anymore”. Shortly after, in 2016, Dubreuil created French Blue who later became French Bee.

Corsair was unable to provide an immediate comment.

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