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Saga ‘exploring options’ for ocean cruise partnership agreement

Saga

Saga Group has responded to reports in the national press that it is floating the idea of selling a stake in its ocean cruise arm

Sky News reported the over-50s travel and insurance specialist could seek a partnership arrangement for the operation of Spirt of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure.

The media outlet claimed the firm is exploring options to release money from its ocean cruise operation, which could involve selling the two ships or offloading the entire business under a licensing agreement.

In response, Saga said no decision has yet been made and “there can be no certainty” that any partnership agreement will occur.

However, it did confirm its board is exploring opportunities to “optimise” the brand’s operational and strategic position in cruise, which could include partnership agreements.

Saga admits partnership arrangement for ocean product ‘would be consistent’ with group strategy

“[The board] has concluded that a partnership arrangement for ocean cruise would be consistent with group strategy to move to a capital-light business model to support further growth and crystalise value, reduce debt and enhance long-term returns for shareholders,” the company said in a statement.

“No decision has yet been made and there can be no certainty that any partnership agreement will occur. A further announcement will be made in due course, as appropriate.”

Last year, Saga announced plans to expand its river cruise business with four new ships to capitalise on “the growing popularity of river cruising”.

The ships – part of Saga’s “wider strategic growth plan” – will join the two existing river vessels, Spirit of the Rhine and Spirit of the Danube, and be operated as part of the wider cruise business under CEO Nigel Blanks.

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