Travel firm TUI puts plans in place to avoid Brexit disruption

Above, a Greek Taverna is seen in Sandanski, Bulgaria, a few kilometers away from the Bulgarian-Greek borders. TUI had already increased hotel space in places such as Bulgaria in case of a fall in the British currency. (Reuters)
Updated 13 December 2017
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Travel firm TUI puts plans in place to avoid Brexit disruption

BERLIN: European tourism group TUI is putting contingency plans in place for Britain’s exit from the EU, it said on Wednesday, aiming to address potential problem areas such as flying rights, visa requirements and changes in demand.
“Whilst we are not able to control the outcome of these (Brexit) negotiations, we are putting contingency plans in place in order to manage potential disruption to our operations,” it said.
CEO Fritz Joussen said if certain destinations became more expensive for Britons due to a fall in sterling then demand could shift to cheaper countries, and the group had already increased hotel space in places such as Bulgaria and Croatia.
He said UK customers typically spent around £1,000 (SR5,005) on their holidays and TUI had seen a slight weakening of demand for long-haul destinations.
It is not yet clear what flying rights will apply to carriers once Britain leaves the bloc, though airlines have said they need clarity by October next year at the latest.
TUI urged negotiators to come up with a “workable solution” for airlines, including extending current agreements until such a solution is agreed.
Joussen said, though, that TUI did not need to follow the example of easyJet, which has received an Austrian license to protect intra-EU flying, because it already had five operating licenses.
The comments came after TUI reported a 12 percent rise in underlying profit for its 2017 financial year and said winter trading was in line with expectations, with Turkey picking up.
Its shares were up 1.3 percent in early deals, among the top FTSE risers.
TUI said, however, that it took a €15 million hit from the insolvency of Air Berlin, previously Germany’s second largest carrier, due to the need to renegotiate a lease agreement it had with the airline.
Seven of the planes that used to fly for Air Berlin are now flying for Lufthansa and its Eurowings unit and Joussen said this would not change even if the EU blocked Lufthansa’s plans to acquire parts of Air Berlin.
TUI reported underlying earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA) up 12 percent at constant currency to €1.2 billion, having earlier predicted an increase of at least 10 percent.


‘Saudi Inc’ author says no shows won’t dent KSA investment appeal

Updated 11 min 29 sec ago
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‘Saudi Inc’ author says no shows won’t dent KSA investment appeal

  • Ellen Wald said there was an element of symbolism in the decision by some executives not to attend the Future Investment Initiative
  • Wald also said that the absence of many big name investors from the US and Europe might hand an advantage to other potential business partners

RIYADH: An American expert on US-Saudi business affairs believes that the withdrawal of some senior business leaders from the investment conference that opens in Riyadh today does not reflect the Kingdom’s commercial attractions.
Ellen Wald, president of the Transversal Consulting think-tank and author of the recent book “Saudi Inc,” told Arab News that there was an element of symbolism in the decision by some executives not to attend the Future Investment Initiative in the Saudi capital, and that many business people were still looking to do business there.
“I think the big pull out of CEOs is not really reflective of the corporate interest in the Kingdom because we see them sending their next level of executives along. So to some degree it (the CEO pullout) is symbolic. I think what they experience here this week will have an effect,” she said.
Wald also said that the absence of many big name investors from the US and Europe might hand an advantage to potential business partners in other parts of the world.
“In terms of attracting foreign investment, Saudi Arabia could have strategic leverage with Russia and China, and a unique opportunity to work on cutting edge technolgies,” she said.
Wald was speaking at an event organized by the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center to discuss her book. She said that Saudi Arabia had a greater need for technology and know-how than for cash investment.
“With regard to foreign investment, it is not about extracting money, but about extracting expertise. The Saudi model has been to hire outside industrial talent, for example the Public Investment Fund and its cinema partner AMC. They are buying expertise in the same way that the Saudis bought in expertise with Aramco, all those years ago. Eventually they (PIF) will buy the cinemas out or bring in somebody else to run them,” she added.