January 12, 2016 / 12:51 PM / 3 years ago

Canada's Transat looks to sell France, Greece operations

(Reuters) - Canadian tour operator Transat AT Inc said on Tuesday it was looking for buyers for its operations in France and Greece to focus on the Americas.

The Montreal-based company, which operates European tours, said it had not yet entered into any negotiations.

Transat said a sale would not affect the operations of its transatlantic programs from Canada or of its budget airline, Air Transat.

The potential transaction is aligned with Transat’s 2015-2017 strategic plan, which emphasizes profitable growth in the Americas, the company said.

The company plans to grow via acquisitions in travel services distribution and hotels in the region, Transat spokesman Michel Lemay said in an e-mail.

Revenue at its European units fell 9.2 percent for the year ended Oct. 31 as bookings to North Africa and other Mediterranean destinations fell and the weaker euro made travel to the United States more expensive. (bit.ly/1nfxOJy)

Transat’s European operations were hurt by the political turmoil in Greece and the recent militant attacks in Paris but Lemay said Tuesday’s announcement had nothing to do with these events.

Transat could sell the French and Greek operations for $40 million to $60 million and generate additional proceeds from the sale of the assets in France and Greece, Beacon Securities Ltd George Trapkov wrote in a note to clients.

The company, valued at about C$275 million ($194 million), got about 20 percent of revenue from outside Canada in 2015, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The company’s shares were down 2.3 percent at C$7.24 in mid-day trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They had declined about 16 percent in 2015.

Reporting by Sneha Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Don Sebastian

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