January 4, 2018 / 7:44 AM / a year ago

Over 50s travel group Saga restructures after Monarch Airlines collapse

(Reuters) - Saga (SAGAG.L) has restructured its travel business, after the British tourism and insurance group for the over 50s said last month that its tour operations had been hit by the collapse of Monarch Airlines.

Saga said on Thursday that Robin Shaw had been appointed CEO of Saga Travel. Shaw was previously CEO of Saga Cruises and will now head both the tour and cruise operations.

The company also said Jeannette Linfoot, managing director of its tour operations, had left the business and Gary Duggan would take over from Roger Ramsden as head of Saga Services, its retail broker.

“These changes provide us with a more focused executive team as we target and invest in growth in the Saga customer base to achieve our long-term ambitions,” Group CEO Lance Batchelor said in a statement.

In an unscheduled trading update last month, Saga said that its tour operations business had been hit by the collapse of Monarch, with a one-off cost of about 2 million pounds.

Britain’s Monarch Airlines collapsed in October, causing the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of holidays, after falling victim to intense competition for flights and a weaker pound.

As a result, Saga, which used Monarch, said it expected underlying pretax profit would rise by just 1-2 percent in 2017 and fall 5 percent in 2018.

At the time Batchelor also said the cost of leasing aircraft had risen as a result of Monarch’s collapse as competitors rushed to fill the gap and raised prices.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton

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