Europe’s biggest package holiday operator, Tui, is considering moving its stock exchange listing from the FTSE 250 to Frankfurt, in a further blow to London’s status as a global finance centre.
The travel company said it had been approached recently by shareholders asking whether the current listing was “optimal and advantageous”. It suggested the shift to Germany could lower costs and yield “potential benefits to European Union airline ownership and control requirements”.
It is the latest in a series of setbacks for the London Stock Exchange in recent years, with companies opting to either delist or choose to debut in other markets, most notably in New York.
The building materials group CRH, one of the biggest companies on the FTSE 100, announced in March that it was moving its primary listing to the US, following the UK-based plumbing equipment supplier Ferguson, which did the same last year.
Also in March, the Cambridge-based chip designer Arm, one of the UK’s few bona fide global tech success stories, snubbed London in favour of floating on the Nasdaq in New York, in one of the biggest initial public offering in recent years.
Tui said its decision to look at relocating its listing to Frankfurt follows “notable liquidity migration from UK to Germany” since the merger of the British and German Tui businesses in 2014, and “more significantly” in the past four years.
As a result, shareholders are questioning whether Tui might be better served by simplifying its stock market listing structure by leaving London and becoming part of Frankfurt’s Mdax, the index directly below Germany’s flagship Dax.
The board said it would put the proposal to shareholders to vote at its annual general meeting in February, with delisting in London possible only if 75% of the votes cast are in favour of the move.
“The executive board’s focus is to provide an attractive, long-term listing for TUI AG which aligns with its ownership and current liquidity and delivers benefits to all shareholders,” the company said.
“Potential advantages of simplification of the listing structures and an inclusion in the MDAX are the centralisation of liquidity, providing a clearer investment profile under a single listing, potential benefits to European Union airline ownership and control requirements, potentially enhancing TUI AG’s equity profile with an expected prominent position in the MDAX50 and creating efficiencies as well as reducing costs.”
The LSE has also faced a series of technical issues in recent months. On Tuesday, it had two outages that hit trading in hundreds of small-cap stocks that affected listed companies including the online retailer Asos, the drinks maker Fever-Tree and polling company YouGov.
The exchange suffered a similar issue in mid-October which halted trading in the shares of small companies for more than an hour and forced it to close early.
Tui also reported a bounceback in annual performance on Wednesday in its first full year unaffected by travel restrictions since pre-pandemic 2019.
The company reported underlying profits of €977m (£836m) for the year to 30 September, more than double 2022’s €409m. Full-year revenues also surged from €16.5bn to €20.6bn year-on-year.
The company said it expected to see a strong year ahead with solid winter and summer bookings likely, prompting the company to forecast that revenues would grow by 10% year-on-year and underlying profits to rise by a quarter.
“Our guidance for 2024 is provided within the framework of the current macroeconomic as well as geopolitical uncertainties especially in the Middle East,” the company said. “It is based on the current positive booking momentum across both seasons.”