Le Monde | • Updated | By
This time, it’s done! The Vendée Dubreuil group, owner of Air Caribbean, announced on Friday 20 February, the acquisition of 100% stake in its rival Corsair International, previously held by the tour operator TUI France. Air Caribbean declined to disclose the amount of the transaction.
More than a significant amount to pay to use Corsair, Air Caraibes will especially get their hands in their pockets to restart it. At the end of 2014, Corsair had posted an operating loss of € 8.9 million. Similarly, before giving Corsair, TUI France has pledged to recapitalize. The sale is expected to close in June. In recent months, TUI France had already begun to move away from Corsair. He weighed only 5% of the company’s turnover, against 40% previously.
Dubreuil group makes an exception in the aviation sector. While Air France is in the red for the sixth consecutive year, Air Caribbean “ always made money for ten years” , except in 2011 where she was a victim of “air pocket” , welcomed Marc Rochet, CEO of Air Caribbean and future CEO of Corsair. He said the 2014 net income is expected to be around “14 million euros” . The company would have “cumulative 56 million net profit of euro ten years” .
This is not the first time that Corsair was trying to find a buyer. For a while now, the German group TUI, parent company of TUI France, had grown tired of having to constantly replenish Corsair. Structurally losses, Corsair, small scheduled airline, clashed in the TUI group, which only operated charter companies for each of its subsidiaries.
Both Corsair and Air Caribbean are not fully enemy. They are related, since 2012, by a code-sharing agreement (same flight number on two different companies). Air Caribbean “is ultimately a natural ally” , said Pascal de Izaguirre, current CEO of Corsair. Once in the lap of the Dubreuil group, Corsair will become a 100% subsidiary of Air Caribbean side but will retain its brand
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With this purchase, the Vendée group is gaining importance. Now the air operations, which accounted for a third of sales will weigh as heavy as distribution activities. Especially, the addition of Air Caribbean and Corsair is “the first air pole 100% private” , boasts the Dubreuil group.
The new group brings together a fleet of fifteen aircraft, including nine Airbus A330. A “strike force” , welcomed the new owners of a strong group of 2 000 employees, annual turnover of 830 million euros annually and carries more than two million passengers.
Together, Air Caraïbes and Corsair hold more than 50% of market share between the metropolis and the Caribbean, to Air France (43%). The recovery should have the green light from competition authorities. The Caribbean market overcapacity. The economic and health crises, including the arrival of chikungunya have diverted some potential passengers to other destinations.
“There will be no social plan” promises Mr Rochet. But his “objective remission in favor of Corsair” . To achieve this, the 1158 employees of Corsair will make “productivity efforts” .
The head of Air Caribbean and soon Corsair wants the drivers but also the flight attendants fly 800 hours per year against 750 hours today. End 2016, the Dubreuil group will create a new legal structure to house the eleven A350 wholesale long-haul Airbus carriers that will renew the fleet.
In December 2016, Air Caribbean will be the first French company to operate an A350. At that time, the group will offer its sailors to volunteer to join the new company, the less favorable social conditions, and fly to the A350 orders.
Mr. Rochet doubt not “that there will be more volunteers than places” . He said, however, probably to arouse vocations, there has “1000 drivers unemployed in France” . With this new entity, Mr. Rochet wants to review the company agreements. “ Or we build the future, or is buttressed on the past” , warned the chairman of the board.