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Sunwing receives takeover offer from unnamed buyer, CEO

From The Globe and Mail – link to source story

Eric Atkins, Transportation Reporter & Andrew Willis | February 5, 2021

4GQW64JZINDDNGAJJ2SUCKXMFI.JPG Sunwing CEO Stephen Hunter said the integrated and interdependent nature of Sunwing’s divisions complicate the prospect of any sale. Handout

Sunwing Travel Group has received a takeover offer for its airline division from an unnamed suitor.

Stephen Hunter, chief executive of Sunwing, said a non-disclosure agreement with the would-be buyer prevents him from providing details, but more information should be available in the coming weeks. “We have been approached recently,” Mr. Hunter said in an interview.

Sunwing is a conglomerate: Along with Sunwing Airlines, it operates 45 resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, tour providers, a luxury charter jet service, and other vacation and hotel brands. The group is 51-per-cent owned by the family of Mr. Hunter and employs about 3,000 people in Canada. Germany-based tourism and airline company TUI Group owns 49 per cent.

Mr. Hunter’s disclosure comes as the Canadian government and the European Commission weigh Air Canada’s AC-T +0.41% increase takeover of Transat AT Inc TRZ-T +0.42% increase. A decision on the union of Canada’s No. 1 and No. 4 airlines is expected any day now. The deal will fall apart on Feb. 15 if the two companies do not agree to extend the deadline.

Mr. Hunter said the integrated and interdependent nature of Sunwing’s divisions – the travel companies, resorts and airline – complicate the prospect of any sale.

“The airline is a vehicle in order to get our package customer from point A to point B. So our airline really is the cost department within our tour operator. And therefore, one really can’t go without the other,” he said. “And of course, Sunwing vacations provides about 30 per cent of the customers to our own hotels.”

Mr. Hunter said he also fielded a takeover offer “years ago” from a party he declined to name. WestJet Airlines Ltd. and Sunwing have held talks in the past, said an airline executive The Globe and Mail is not namingbecause they are not authorized to speak publicly. It is not clear whether the recent bid is from WestJet or another company.

The source said it is in Sunwing’s best interest to disclose its airlinehas a potential buyer, as this demonstrates the value of the whole company to lenders.

Bargain-hunting private equity funds are selectively investing in the airline industry during the pandemic, in expectation of a rebound once vaccination programs kick in and travel picks up.

In October, aircraft lessor and operator Chorus Aviation saw its share price jump 30 per cent after the Halifax-based company said it received a “preliminary, non-binding acquisition proposal from a third party.” Analysts said a private equity firm likely made the offer. Chorus has not made any further announcements on the proposal.

WestJet did not immediately respond to e-mailed questions.

In good times, Canada’s airline market is dominated by Air Canada, followed by Onex Corp.-owned WestJet, Sunwing and Transat.

The prospect of Sunwing bought by WestJet would pose a new challenge to the Canadian government as it mulls the Air Canada-Transat deal. Canada’s Competition Commissioner last year said the deal would limit competition and consumer choice and drive up airfares.

The European regulator, which is required to rule on the proposal owing to the large market share of Air Canada and Transat, suspended its investigation into the deal in late December as it awaits more information from the companies.

WestJet, in submissions to the Canadian government on the Air Canada-Transat deal, called for the takeover to be rejected or modified to reduce the combined companies’ market grip.

In contrast, Mr. Hunter of Sunwing recently told The Globe he supports the deal because a larger Air Canada will be better positioned to fend off foreign rivals.

Sunwing recently tappedfederal financing worth as much as $375-million under the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility program. It is the first Canadian carrier to tap the program, as other airlines have borrowed from banks and on credit markets.

Mr. Hunter said the new liquidity will help the company as it awaits a sector-specific bailout from Ottawa. Like Transat and Air Canada Rouge, Sunwing Airlines has suspended its normal operations until April 30 because of the pandemic.

 

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Interesting,

I have always thought AC will sell the property management side of Transat after acquisition.  Might already have a buyer in line.

Is it possible someone on the property management side is looking for acquisitions and consolidation?
 

 

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On 2/6/2021 at 11:52 AM, Turbofan said:

Interesting,

I have always thought AC will sell the property management side of Transat after acquisition.  Might already have a buyer in line.

Is it possible someone on the property management side is looking for acquisitions and consolidation?
 

 

What property management side?  This seems to be an urban myth from what I can see in the Transat financial statements.

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1 hour ago, Homerun said:

What property management side?  This seems to be an urban myth from what I can see in the Transat financial statements.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transat_A.T.
 

To be honest I don’t understand exactly what vertically integrated means either.  Or what opportunities a well funded suitor may see. Hence my question. 

I am also coming from the opinion that Air Canada will not stay in the hotel management side of the business once it purchases Transat.  In fact they may already have a buyer.  Add to that the odd support of the AC Transat merger by Sunwing, and almost simultaneous statement by Sunwing saying they have an offer.

If you look at the Wiki above, Transat has companies in about 4-5 service sectors all providing parts of vacation travel. (Bottom of the page) Transat does it all. Everything from the airline to travel agencies to a resort in Mexico.

Here is Sunwing.  Same thing.  They own or are part owners with TUI in a bunch of resorts.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunwing_Travel_Group


It is why I asked the original question.

Is it possible someone on the property management side is looking for acquisitions or consolidation?


 

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22 hours ago, Turbofan said:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transat_A.T.
 

To be honest I don’t understand exactly what vertically integrated means either.  Or what opportunities a well funded suitor may see. Hence my question. 

I am also coming from the opinion that Air Canada will not stay in the hotel management side of the business once it purchases Transat.  In fact they may already have a buyer.  Add to that the odd support of the AC Transat merger by Sunwing, and almost simultaneous statement by Sunwing saying they have an offer.

If you look at the Wiki above, Transat has companies in about 4-5 service sectors all providing parts of vacation travel. (Bottom of the page) Transat does it all. Everything from the airline to travel agencies to a resort in Mexico.

Here is Sunwing.  Same thing.  They own or are part owners with TUI in a bunch of resorts.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunwing_Travel_Group


It is why I asked the original question.

Is it possible someone on the property management side is looking for acquisitions or consolidation?


 

I think that wiki is very out of date. Some of the items mentioned were sold off years ago. Transat AT currently owns some travel agencies and a piece of land in Mexico where they plan to build a hotel someday. That’s it.  No hotel management business and no resorts.  Here is what they say about the land in their most recent financials:

The Corporation cannot currently forecast all the impacts of COVID-19 on its hotel development strategy, particularly the use of its land and the start of eventual construction work. However, the land in Mexico does not meet the required criteria to be presented as an asset held for sale. Given the uncertainty surrounding future use of the land, an assessment of the recoverable amount of the land in Mexico compared with its carrying amount has been made. The recoverable amount of the land was determined based on the fair value less costs to sell, according to a valuation prepared by an independent, external valuator as at October 12, 2020. The determined recoverable amount of the land in Mexico is less than its carrying amount. Accordingly, as at October 31, 2020, the Corporation recognized an impairment charge of $32.8 million related to its land in Mexico 

 

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CANADIAN AVIATION NEWS

CANADIAN AIRLINE AND INDUSTRY NEWS

Sunwing strikes resort marketing deal with Marriott, extending reach to hotel giant’s customer base

From the Globe and Mail – link to source story

ERIC ATKINS, TRANSPORTATION REPORTER | FEBRUARY 9, 2021

DKLAD5VOEBG7VMU3OHCPS6YSFU.jpg Stephen Hunter, CEO of Sunwing Travel, stands beside one of the company’s aircraft in the Sunwing hangar at Toronto Pearson International Airport, on Feb. 8, 2021.FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Sunwing Travel Group has struck a resort marketing deal with Marriott International Inc., a move that gives it exposure to the hotel giant’s much larger customer base.

Toronto-based Sunwing said 19 of its 44 resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, including Planet Hollywood and Royalton hotels, will join Marriott’s Autograph Collection brand in the first quarter of 2021.

Financial terms were not released, and Sunwing retains ownership of the hotels. Marriott will receive an undisclosed commission for bookings made through its website, while Sunwing gains access to a broader range of clients and markets, in addition to the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, which has 145 million members.

Sunwing’s business includes the resorts, tour operators and Sunwing Airlines. It is 51-per-cent owned by the Hunter family, with Germany’s TUI Group owning the other 49 per cent.

Bethesda, Md.-based Marriott operates more than 7,500 hotels under 30 brands around the world.

The two companies announced the agreement amid a prolonged collapse in demand for travel due to the pandemic. Sunwing suspended its normal airline operations until April 30 after the Canadian government asked all domestic carriers to cease flying to sun destinations. It had grounded its flights from March to November last year.

Stephen Hunter, Sunwing’s chief executive officer, said he has been talking with Marriott for four years, but the pandemic underlined the need to reach an agreement. “Once the pandemic hit everybody in the travel sector, it doesn’t matter whether it’s hotels or tour operators [or] airlines, everyone kind of let their guard down a little bit and started talking to competitors more,” he said by phone.

He said the hotels were profitable again after reopening in November and December, but business has “dried up” amid the new travel restrictions.

The agreement doubles Marriott’s all-inclusive resorts portfolio and adds two destinations, St. Lucia and Antigua, while offering more choices to its loyalty program members, said Tony Capuano, Marriott’s president of global development, in a statement.

Sunwing Airlines provides about 30 per cent of the clients to the company’s hotels. Mr. Hunter said access to Marriott’s loyalty program deepens the potential pool of customers in the United States.

“If you’re a business guy and you fly to New York every week, building up points, where are you going to use those points? You’re most likely to use those points on your own personal vacations somewhere down south,” Mr. Hunter said.

Sunwing employed about 2,700 people before the pandemic and operated 12 leased Boeing 737-800s and four leased Boeing 737 Max jets.

It recently tapped a federal government loan program for $50-million and has been approved for as much as $375-million to help it weather the pandemic. Sunwing and other airlines are awaiting the announcement of a sector-specific aid program in the coming days or weeks.

The company recently fielded a takeover offer for the airline from an unnamed party, Mr. Hunter said Friday.

 

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Unifor Local 7378 Pilots ratify new agreement with Sunwing Airlines

TORONTO, Feb. 12, 2021 /CNW/ – Pilots represented by Unifor Local 7378 have ratified a new four -year agreement with Sunwing Airlines.

“In the most unprecedented of times while the entire aviation industry in Canada has been shuttered, our pilots came together and this agreement provides a road forward and a plan for all of our members who are suffering financially,” said Barret Armann, President of Unifor Local 7378.

Link to complete news release: Unifor Local 7378 Pilots ratify new agreement with Sunwing Airlines – Canadian Aviation News (wordpress.com)

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  • 2 months later...

Sunwing announces winter flight schedule from regional gateways across Atlantic Canada

Tour operator to offer weekly flights from Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, St. John’s, Deer Lake and Gander

flysunwing_mobile-sunwing.png?w=720

TORONTO, April 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sunwing is making it easier for residents of Atlantic Canada to head back to the tropics this winter, with convenient weekly flights from regional gateways across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Residents of Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, St. John’s, Deer Lake and Gander can make their much-anticipated return to paradise with vacation packages to some of the most popular destinations across the Caribbean and Mexico. Flights will begin in January 2022 and run weekly until May 2022.

“We’re thrilled to be returning to Atlantic Canada for another winter season,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing Travel Group. “After a difficult year, we’re sure that Canadians will be eager to return to paradise and enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation. We’re excited to be able to help them enjoy a frictionless vacation experience with convenient flights from local gateways across the region.”

Residents of Atlantic Canada will be able to choose from a range of vacation packages designed for every travel style and budget. Sun-seekers can Vacation Like a Star™ at the newly-opened Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Cancun and the first-ever Planet Hollywood Adult Scene Cancun, featuring entertainment-themed facilities and authentic Hollywood memorabilia around the resort. Those looking to make the most of their vacation budget can enjoy exclusive RIU®-topia inclusions at Canadian-favourite chain RIU Hotels & Resorts, including the recently renovated Riu Montego Bay. Plus, travellers who book by April 30, 2021 for travel between November 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022 can enjoy flexible booking options with the ability to change their plans with ease and save up to $1,000 per couple during the tour operator’s Freedom 21/22 Sale.

The flight schedule from Halifax, NS will be as follows:

  • Between Halifax and Cancun, Sundays from January 16, 2022 until May 8, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Montego Bay, Mondays from January 17, 2022 until May 9, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Puerto Plata, Tuesdays from January 18, 2022 until May 10, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Punta Cana, Fridays from January 14, 2022 until May 6, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Cayo Coco, Wednesdays from January 12, 2022 until May 11, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Cayo Santa Maria, Thursdays from January 13, 2022 until May 5, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Holguin, Sundays from January 16, 2022 until May 8, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Varadero, Thursdays and Saturdays from January 13, 2022 until May 7, 2022

The flight schedule from Moncton, NB will be as follows:

  • Between Moncton and Cancun, Thursdays from February 10, 2022 until May 5, 2022
  • Between Moncton and Montego Bay, Sundays from February 13, 2022 until May 8, 2022
  • Between Moncton and Puerto Plata, Fridays from February 11, 2022 until May 6, 2022
  • Between Moncton and Punta Cana, Saturdays from February 12, 2022 until May 7, 2022
  • Between Moncton and Varadero, Fridays from February 11, 2022 until May 6, 2022

The flight schedule from Saint John, NB will be as follows:

  • Between Saint John and Varadero, Saturdays from February 5, 2022 until May 7, 2022

The flight schedule from Fredericton, NB will be as follows:

  • Between Fredericton and Cancun, Mondays from February 14, 2022 until May 9, 2022
  • Between Fredericton and Punta Cana, Wednesdays from February 9, 2022 until May 4, 2022
  • Between Fredericton and Cayo Coco, Tuesdays from February 15, 2022 until May 10, 2022

The flight schedule from St. John’s, NL will be as follows:

  • Between St. John’s and Cayo Coco, Thursdays from March 10, 2022 until May 12, 2022
  • Between St. John’s and Varadero, Saturdays from March 12, 2022 until May 14, 2022
  • Between St. John’s and Cancun, Fridays from March 11, 2022 until May 13, 2022
  • Between St. John’s and Montego Bay, Sundays from March 13, 2022 until May 15, 2022
  • Between St. John’s and Punta Cana, Mondays from March 14, 2022 until May 9, 2022

The flight schedule from Deer Lake and Gander, NL will be as follows:

  • Between Deer Lake/Gander and Varadero, Tuesdays from March 15, 2022 until May 10, 2022
  • Between Deer Lake/Gander and Punta Cana, Wednesdays from March 16, 2022 until May 11, 2022

Vacationers can return to these Canadian-favourite destinations and travel with peace of mind knowing that the highest Canadian standards are in place throughout their entire vacation experience with the Safe with Sunwing commitment, created under the advisement of global healthcare leader Medcan.

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God I hope this works.  I had my first flight in over a year last week.  It was surreal.  Empty airport, empty plane. 

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14 minutes ago, Specs said:

God I hope this works.  I had my first flight in over a year last week.  It was surreal.  Empty airport, empty plane. 

A colleague connected through DFW last week on his way home from simulator training. He said it was just as busy as every other time he's gone through there.

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6 minutes ago, J.O. said:

A colleague connected through DFW last week on his way home from simulator training. He said it was just as busy as every other time he's gone through there.

US operating very close to a semblance of normal as far as passenger ops are concerned. Crowds are there. Masks are worn (mostly).

Actually somewhat disconcerting to see since the virus is still there.

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2 hours ago, J.O. said:

A colleague connected through DFW last week on his way home from simulator training. He said it was just as busy as every other time he's gone through there.

I was going YYZ -YUL return.  Normally, I always end up standing in the gate area because there are never enough seats in the gate area for all the passengers.  Last week, with so few passengers, I was still standing because they keep 2 seats unoccupied between the usable seats.

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Sunwing announces convenient weekly flights from Sudbury and North Bay will resume this winter

flysunwing_mobile-sunwing.png?w=720

TORONTO, May 03, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sunwing is making it easier for residents of Northern Ontario to head to the tropics this winter. The tour operator has announced it will be offering vacation packages to some of the most popular tropical destinations from Greater Sudbury Airport and North Bay Jack Garland Airport. Flights will begin in December 2021 and run weekly until mid-April 2022.

“We’re excited to be returning to Sudbury and North Bay this winter and offering Northern Ontarians seamless vacation experiences under our wing,” commented Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing. “Our seasonal flight services from Sudbury and North Bay have been consistently well-received over the years. With convenient flights from their regional airports, travellers will be able to spend less time getting to their destination and more time soaking up the sun in paradise.”

The flight schedule from North Bay and Sudbury will be as follows:

  • Between North Bay and Cancun, Thursdays from December 16, 2021 until April 14, 2022
  • Between Sudbury and Varadero, Fridays from December 17, 2021 until April 15, 2022

“Greater Sudbury Airport is looking forward to welcoming Sunwing back for another successful season,” said Todd Tripp, Chief Executive Officer at Greater Sudbury Airport. “After a difficult year of staying home and not travelling, we’re sure that residents of Sudbury and the surrounding area will be looking forward to enjoying some much-deserved rest and relaxation in paradise.”

“After a strenuous year, we’re delighted that Sunwing will be returning to North Bay for their ninth season,” commented Jack Santerre, Airport Manager for North Bay Jack Garland Airport Corporation. “We’re pleased that our residents will be provided with convenient travel options from their regional gateway. With weekly flights to Cancun, it’ll now be easier than ever for travellers in North Bay and the surrounding area to head south this winter.”

North Bay residents headed to Cancun with the whole family can stay at Grand Sunset Princess All Suites Resort and Spa, offering activities and amenities for all ages. Vacationers looking to take their budget even further can enjoy exclusive RIU®-topia amenities at Riu Dunamar like unlimited reservation-free dining. Travellers from Sudbury can soak up the sun on Cuba’s world-famous shores at Grand Memories Varadero and enjoy complimentary water sports like windsurfing and catamaran rides.

Plus, customers who book their tropical getaway at select resorts by May 31, 2021 for travel between November 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022 will receive up to $1,000 per couple in value during the tour operator’s extended Freedom 21/22 Sale, including complimentary Price Drop Cash Back of up to $800 per couple at select resorts and the flexibility to change or cancel their plans with ease.

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