The Council of Ministers this Tuesday gave the green light to the rescue of 320 million requested by Ávoris Corporación Empresarial, a company resulting from the integration of the Barceló and Globalia travel agencies. The aid is divided into a participative loan of 163.2 million euros and an ordinary loan of 156.8 million. This injection of the rescue fund saves the merger of the travel divisions of both groups, a business very affected by the pandemic and the crisis that plagues the tourism sector.
This is the fourth public injection that is authorized from the rescue fund provided by the coalition government for strategic companies, endowed with 10,000 million. Among the requirements to access this help, companies have to be considered strategic, be viable and that the aid is only to recover from the blow of the coronavirus crisis, not to fill previous holes. The mechanism was approved by the Executive in July after the approval of Europe to reinforce the solvency of the companies.
“The strategic nature of Ávoris is undeniable, since it has a notable presence in international markets, a significant market share, a large business volume (4,067 million euros in aggregate turnover in 2019), a significant number of direct employees (6,400 workers) and a large scale in terms of points of sale (1,470 in its commercial network) ”, justifies the Ministry of Finance in a statement.
The fund support agreement managed by the Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (SEPI) has some conditions. Among them, the appointment by the fund’s managing council of “an observer with voice and without vote on the board of directors, as well as the establishment of a committee to monitor the viability plan,” adds the department headed by María Jesús Montero.
This operation is added to those authorized to Air Europa (475 million), Duro Felguera (120 million) and Plus Ultra Lineas Aereas (53 million). “All of them show the Government’s commitment to protect the Spanish productive fabric,” Montero stressed in the press conference after the Council of Ministers. After this new agreement of the Council of Ministers, the Hidalgo family saves its two operations that were left in the air by the covid (that of Iberia with Air Europa and this of the Barceló Group and Globalia) and benefits from public aid of almost 800 million between both cases.
The travel agency that was born from the union of forces of Barceló and Globalia will have a maximum term of six years to repay the loans it receives with an interest rate that will grow over time. “In this way it is about encouraging the return of the aid as soon as possible,” explain sources from the Administration.
The company receiving the 320 million is the result of the integration of the wholesale tour operator and retail travel agency businesses of the Barceló and Globalia groups, an operation that was authorized by the CNMC in May last year, although since then the value of both businesses has plummeted due to the coronavirus crisis. The distribution agreed by both firms leaves Barceló with 50.55% of Ávoris’ share capital and Globalia with the remaining 49.45%.
The Executive defends the rescue (also of the airlines Air Europa and Plus Ultra, as well as others that the tourism sector may receive in the coming weeks such as Wamos, Grupo Hotusa or Grupo Serhs) due to the importance of the industry in the Spanish economy. “Tour operators and travel agencies are a fundamental part in the consolidation and recovery of the sector, being a fundamental part of the intermediation of the offer, so it is essential to maintain and provide support to those that can contribute to boosting activation again. of the tourist offer at the moment in which the demand becomes more dynamic ”, says the Treasury in the note. To which Montero added at a press conference: “They are one of the companies most affected by the restrictions throughout the pandemic.”
Leading travel agency
The Barceló and Globalia groups have advanced that after this public injection of the rescue fund (supported by guarantees from both groups), the merger of the travel divisions will accelerate. “The resulting group is de facto first in Spain among companies in the travel sector and was born in a position to lead and promote tourism, which is key in the economy of our country,” they say in a joint statement.
Among the brands that incorporate this company are the agency networks B The Travel Brand, Halcón Viajes and Viajes Ecuador, which will maintain their brands, the tour operators Travelplan, Catai, Special Tours, Quelonea or Jolidey, the airlines Evelop and Orbest (they will operate with the trademark Iberojet, BCD Travel and Globalia Corporate Travel in the business travel sector), Rhodasol, Marsol and Welcomebeds and the destination services Welcome Incoming Services and Turavia. “In total there are more than 40 highly specialized brands, many of them leaders in the market segments in which they operate,” the firms add in the note.
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