Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Saga says it's still on track to make a profit, despite Covid

Over-50s insurance-to-travel specialist Saga expects to report a full year pre-tax profit despite the pandemic, it told the financial markets today.

In its quartley trading update to the London Stock Exchange, Saga said its liquidity remains strong, with total available cash of £51m on 31 December 2020.

It said its travel business was 'well-positioned' to resume operations, with its cash burn rate contained at the lower end of £6m to £8m a month.

The company announced last week that it would delay the restart of its travel programmes until 1 May to give more time for its customers to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

It has since endured a social media backlash for its policy of insisting that its customers are fully vaccinated at least 14 days before they travel.

In a statement this morning, Group CEO Euan Sutherland said the company is 'focusing on ensuring the safest possible environment for our guests when cruise and holidays resume, whilst appropriately controlling costs until that time'.

He added: "We are confident in our strategy, the strength of our brand and the loyalty and economic resilience of our customers.

"We know they are ready to travel in great numbers and live their lives to the full as the vaccine programme is rolled out. We are excited about the opportunities ahead as we focus on delivering more exceptional experiences for our customers."

The group said it was discussing with its lenders steps to 'enhance financial flexibility'.

Separately, it is looking to defer up to £45m of debt payments in relation to its two cruise ships, which are due to be made from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. These would be in addition to £32m already deferred.

"These are early stage discussions and we will provide an update with our full year results," added Saga.

By Linsey McNeill, Editor (UK)

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