Former owner of Saga invests £100m to save company from Covid crisis | Business


The former owner of Saga, who became a billionaire after selling the over-50s holiday and insurance group in 2004, is returning to the business by investing £100m to shore up the company’s finances.

Sir Roger de Haan, who sold Saga for £1.35bn 16 years ago, will inject the funds in return for a stake in the company of around 20%, with the company seeking a further £50m from existing investors.

Confirming the fundraising on Sunday, which had first been reported by Sky News, Saga said that De Haan would spend £60.6m buying 20% of Saga shares at 27p per share, a 98% premium to the 13.61p closing price on 28 August.

He will also invest up to £39.4m in share placings at a maximum issue price of 15p per share and will join the board as non-executive chairman.

A further placing at a maximum price of 15p a share to existing investors is expected to bring the total fundraising to £150m.

In a statement, the company said: “The proposed equity raise is intended to strengthen the company’s financial position against the backdrop of the Covid-19 outbreak and the ongoing suspension of travel and to better position Saga for longer-term recovery and growth.”

The company has been one of many in the travel sector hit by the global pandemic and in March was forced to cancel all of its cruises.

In a trading statement in June, Saga said: “As at 31 May the group had cancelled all travel departures up to and including August and had refunded £44m of advance receipts to customers, mainly relating to the tour operations business.”

De Haan, whose father Sidney founded Saga in 1948, took over running the business in 1984 before selling it to a management buyout team funded by the private equity group Charterhouse.

At the time of the deal De Haan owned 70% of the shares outright, with the balance held in family trusts.

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The company said it had considered other options to improve its balance sheet and added: “In determining to proceed with this capital raising and place the company on a stronger financial footing, the board considered a number of options and also recently evaluated and rejected an unsolicited and highly conditional 33p indicative approach for the company from a consortium of two US financial investors.

“This 33p offer followed several earlier indicative approaches from the consortium which commenced at a significantly lower valuation. The investors have since confirmed that they are no longer considering an offer for the company.”

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