Coronavirus: Saga sets sail on fresh plan to offload Destinology arm | Business News

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Saga, the insurance and travel provider to the over-50s, is reviving a plan to sell Destinology, a luxury tour operator, as it streamlines its business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sky News has learnt that Saga has instructed bankers to contact prospective buyers of Destinology, which it bought in 2014.


Duff & Phelps, the professional services firm, is handling the process.

The move comes as Saga, like other companies exposed to the cruise industry, grapples with the long-term consequences of the coronavirus crisis.

Last month, it praised the “exceptional” loyalty of cruise passengers, saying that advance receipts at the end of May were £43m – a figure that was “well ahead of expectations”.

“The group has retained over 70% of advance receipts on cancelled cruise departures, and new bookings for next year have been very positive,” it said.

Image:
Saga’s river cruise ship the Spirit of the Rhine. Pic: Saga

Saga is now run by Euan Sutherland, the former chief executive of Superdry and – briefly – the Co-operative Group.

The company disclosed last year that Elliott, the activist hedge fund manager, had taken a 5pc stake, prompting expectations of a break-up or other corporate activity.

In recent months, it has focused on strengthening its balance sheet, warning investors that it would be unable to pay dividends while repayments of loans taken on to acquire new cruise ships were outstanding.

Saga, which has seen its shares slide by almost two-thirds over the last year, declined to comment.


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