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Tui keeps Crystal Ski
Tuesday May 10, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

The world's largest holiday company is selling its Specialist Group. It includes some ski operators in its 53 brands including Snowbound and Flexiski. Crystal though remains. UPDATED

TUI has decided to offload its specialist holidays.

"Group to further focus on core strategies: preparation for sale of Specialist Group announced" said the headline of its press release.

Crystal is the largest UK ski operator with around 40% of the tour operator market and TUI has decided to keep it.

Crystal Ski offers more than 130 ski resorts in its programme with departures from 21 airports in the UK and Ireland.

There have been rumours for a while that the sale might include Crystal Ski, with its head office in Surbiton in South London, but the company remains in the TUI group and it seems jobs are secure.

TUI is also keeping Thomson Lake and Mountains.

"Crystal and Thomson Lakes & Mountains is already a very successful business within TUI's Specialist Holiday Group and a very welcome addition to our brand portfolio in the UK," said the Managing Director of TUI UK & Ireland, Nick Longman.

"I believe the integration of the brands into a business of our size and scale will not only help to fast track growth but deliver even more exciting ski and lake and mountain holidays to top resorts," he added.

In particular they use the aircraft fleet of TUI during the winter months and according to the statement from TUI "create synergy potential that other specialists do not have."

Out goes Skibound, that is one of the largest companies dealing with the UK student and schools market, and Flexiski that offers tailor-made winter holidays.

"It's an exciting era for our business. We have evolved Crystal over the last 35 years, working with Thomson Airways to take more customers from all over the UK and Ireland to a huge range of destinations, and providing exciting holiday experiences for our customers through our expert staff and market-leading mobile technology and service," said the MD of Crystal Ski, Tamsin Todd.

"This new chapter will provide a firm platform for innovation and growth, and superb career opportunities for our staff," she added.

TUI's share price fell on news of the sell off.

Some commentators believe the selling of a sizeable part of the business will undoubtedly raise cash but has made investors worry about the future.

The sale comes shortly after TUI off-loaded its bed bank Hotelbeds.

"Despite shrinking its pre-tax losses and posting a better than expected jump in half year revenue its stock fell anywhere between 1.5% and 3% this morning," said a senior market analyst from, Connor Campbell, to TravelMole.

"Considering the sale of Specialist Group was something of a surprise it seems clear that the negative reaction has stemmed from that decision.

"Of course in the long-term investors may be buoyed by TUI's attempts at streamlining its business, but for now it appears that the sale of two large assets in a row hasn't been greeted with much cheer."

"The Specialist Group is a great collection of more than 50 brands and successful companies. However, there is little vertical integration with the core Tourism businesses. In addition, the potential impact on profitability and the large amount of brands are strong strategic arguments not to combine the portfolio under the TUI brand," said the CEO of TUI Group, Fritz Joussen.

"Therefore, we believe that a disposal of Specialist Group in one transaction is the best way to maximise value from these businesses for TUI's shareholders. It will also enable us to quickly focus on the strategic imperatives outlined and strengthen TUI and its international competitiveness," Fritz Joussen added.

The transaction is expected to conclude during the first half of fiscal year 2016/2017.

The Specialist Holidays Group is led by Mathew Prior, who is a well known figure in the UK snowsports industry and is a former MD of Crystal Ski.

We understand he will stay on to over see the sale of the Specialist Group and it is unclear if he will stay with TUI or go on to pastures news.

World's largest holiday groupWorld's largest holiday group








About TUI Group

TUI Group is the world's number one integrated tourism group operating in around 180 destinations worldwide. The company is domiciled in Germany. The TUI Group's share is listed in the FTSE 100 index, the leading index of the London Stock Exchange and in the German open market.

In financial year 2014/15, the TUI Group recorded turnover of €20.1bn and an operating result of €1.069bn.

The Group employs 76,000 people in 130 countries. TUI offers its 30 million customers comprehensive services from a single source. It covers the entire touristic value chain under one roof.

This comprises internationally leading tour operator brands and 1,800 travel agencies in Europe, six European airlines with more than 130 modern medium and long-haul aircraft, more than 300 Group-owned hotels and resorts

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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