FTI Group parent files for insolvency

The owner of Europe’s third-largest tour operator, FTI Group, has filed for insolvency.

FTI Touristik GmbH, whose brands include FTI Touristik and trade-only bed bank Youtravel.com, filed an application for the opening of insolvency proceedings in Munich on Monday, June 3.

The company said: “After a lengthy and complex investor process, the entry of a consortium of investors was announced in April 2024. Since then, however, booking figures have fallen well short of expectations despite the positive news. In addition, numerous suppliers have insisted on advance payment.

“As a result, there was an increased need for liquidity, which could no longer be bridged until the closing of the investor process. The filing for insolvency has therefore become necessary for legal reasons.”

Giving support to travellers affected by the insolvency has been described as a “top priority” by FTI Group.

A support website has already been set up, as well as a support hotline.

The company added: “We are currently working hard to ensure that trips that have already started can be completed as planned. Trips that have not yet begun will probably no longer be possible or only partially possible from Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

“In cooperation with the (provisional) insolvency administrator yet to be appointed, a concept for the ongoing information of affected travellers and the operational implementation of the necessary measures will be developed in the coming days.”

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of The Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “We’re shocked to see the news about FTI, one of Europe’s largest tour operators, failing after Thomas Cook collapsed in September 2019.

“It will be a difficult day for all affected staff and customers. No doubt it will also have a significant impact not just on the German holiday market but on hoteliers operating in key German source markets such as Spain.”

Morgann Lesné, from investment bank Cambon Partners, a mergers and acquisitions specialist, said: “Most considered FTI too big to fail and therefore would not have seen this coming today.

“Right now a lot of those B2B suppliers will be urgently confirming their exposure and legal situation – they can guess, but it might take days to work through to an absolute figure.

“We shouldn’t count the company out completely though, as it is just possible that a white knight will come in to rescue the company – or even the German government, who stands to lose much with this. Certainly in terms of its strong asset base we’ll quickly see bidders for its extensive business lines.

“Meanwhile competitors of FTI will be conducting speedy analyses to see if they can capture its customer base. Watch out for lots of talk about that publicly via targeted advertising and PR, as well as with investors. Perhaps in the next 24 hours even – things move fast in these situations as there is so much at stake.”

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