TUI Loses Finance Chief Amid Effort to Raise More Funds


(Bloomberg) — TUI AG’s finance chief will leave at year-end in a setback for the struggling tour operator as it works on plans to raise more cash.



The TUI AG logo is seen in the company's travel shop in Berlin, Germany.


© Bloomberg
The TUI AG logo is seen in the company’s travel shop in Berlin, Germany.

Chief Financial Officer Birgit Conix told the company she won’t extend her contract, TUI said Wednesday. Sebastian Ebel, who is already a member of the executive board, will take over on Jan. 1, according to a statement.

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Conix, 55, who joined TUI in 2018 from Belgian telecom firm Telenet Group Holding NV, played a key role in maintaining liquidity at the company, which has been hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis and, before that, the grounding of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max. Ebel, 57, runs the hotels division and held finance positions before.

The change comes amid uncertainty about TUI’s plan to bolster cash after topping up a German government bailout during the summer. Chief Executive Officer Fritz Joussen said last week that the company, stung by a drop-off in holiday travel, would raise about 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) through a combination of asset sales and a rights issue.

The company then sought to clarify, saying the capital increase would be below 1 billion euros. That prompted criticism that the amount wouldn’t be enough.

Bigger Bailout

TUI, which owns hotels across the Mediterranean and operates fleets of aircraft and cruise ships, was one of the first companies in Germany to get a large government bailout, an amount increased over summer to 3 billion euros.

With the 2020 summer season pretty much wiped out by the virus, TUI — like other travel firms — now faces the seasonally tougher winter months.

In addition to the rights offer, TUI will look at selling some of its 400 hotels and U.K. cruise arm Marella, Joussen said at last week’s press briefing in Frankfurt. A rights issue would also require a recovery in the share price, he said then.

Handelsblatt had reported in September that TUI would raise as much as 1 billion euros in fresh equity within weeks.

Shares of TUI were down 3.1% as of 8:25 a.m. in London. They have lost two-thirds of their value this year.

(Updates with Conix decision to leave from first paragraph)

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