BRITAIN’s third-largest holiday company, XL Leisure Group, is in urgent talks with its banks after plans for refinancing have been delayed. However a refinancing package is on the cards with the situation resolved this week.Its lenders, Barclays and Straumur, are thought to be considering their options, according to The Times newspaper. Barclays is thought to have recruited corporate-restructuring specialist Kroll to advise.
XL underwent a management buyout in 2006 and has grown rapidly to become a leading player in the UK holiday market, behind Tui Travel and Thomas Cook. Its airline XL Airways flies to more than 50 destinations. It sells holidays under a diverse range of brands including Kosmar, XL.com, Freedom Flights and Travel City Direct.
Figures filed at Companies House revealed that net liabilities increased from £8m to £59m in the financial year to October 2007. The money owed to creditors grew from £114m to £205m.
A statement said: “The group is engaged with a number of third parties as part of this process and has no further comment on the specifics of the refinancing.”
“Whilst acknowledging it is a challenging market, the XL Leisure Group is experiencing strong trading with bookings for 2009 already outperforming last year.
“In addition, XL Airways has been the highest-performing airline at Gatwick and Manchester on punctuality during the month of July. With the addition of new aircraft this year XL will also be operating the youngest fleet of short haul aircraft in the UK.”
Editorial note: Freedom Flights (www.freedomflights.co.uk) owned and operated by XL Leisure is not in any way connected to Newcastle-based Freedom Flights (www.freedomflights.com). The latter is an ABTA bonded travel agent established in 1987.