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European travel giant Tui will leave the London Stock Exchange

By Hanna Ziady, CNN

London (CNN) — Tui, one of the world’s largest travel agencies, will leave the London Stock Exchange in June — the latest blow to the British capital’s longstanding reputation as the undisputed leader of Europe’s stock markets.

Shareholders in the German company, which is dual-listed in London and Frankfurt, voted Tuesday to delist the firm from the London Stock Exchange.

Tui said in December that it was weighing the move because a significant portion of the trading in its stock had migrated from the United Kingdom to Germany in the past four years. A single listing in Frankfurt would also simplify the company’s structure and reduce costs, it explained at the time.

“We are pleased that TUI’s shareholders have followed our recommendation and voted in favour of the delisting,” chief financial officer Mathias Kiep said in a statement.

The company expects to cancel its shares on the London Stock Exchange in late June.

Britain’s main stock exchange has seen several companies move their primary listings to New York or choose Wall Street for going public over the past 18 months — most notably Softbank-backed chipmaker ARM Holdings (ARM), the crown jewel of the UK tech sector.

Tui’s departure is unlikely to spark the same handwringing over London’s future. The company is worth only a fifth of its value since the outbreak of the pandemic, when its shares slumped and it crashed out of the blue-chip FTSE 100 stock index.

Still, its move to Frankfurt will come as a reminder that London is no longer the unrivalled destination for European companies wanting to grow and raise money from investors.

“The vote by Tui shareholders… is undeniably a blow for the London markets,” commented Delphine Currie, a partner at law firm Reed Smith who advises companies on their IPOs. “Whilst some may argue that the move makes sense for Tui… it is yet another example of a high-profile company turning its back on London.”

The British capital is increasingly competing head-to-head with its neighbors, including Amsterdam and Paris, vying for position as Europe’s largest share trading center and most valuable stock market.

Headquartered in Hanover, Tui owns more than 400 hotels, 16 cruise ships, five airlines and 1,200 travel agencies. The group employs more than 60,000 staff, according to its website.

Also on Tuesday, the company reported its first ever operating profit for the October-to-December quarter, which tends to be a quieter time for travel. Revenue for the period jumped 15% compared with a year prior to a record €4.3 billion ($4.6 billion), as the company was able to raise its prices thanks to sustained strong demand for travel.

“It’s not the best consumer environment we’re in but holidays wherever you look are prioritized,” Kiep told investors on a call.

Notwithstanding the Israel-Hamas war and related turmoil in the Middle East, Egypt continued to be one of the most popular short-haul destinations for Tui’s customers, alongside the Canaries and Cape Verde, the company said. “Key long-haul destinations in the quarter included Mexico, Thailand and the Dominican Republic,” it added.

The company has been diverting some of its cruise ships around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa to avoid attacks in the Red Sea by Yemen-based Houthi militants. “We are confident about the whole year despite the cost for the diversion of our cruise ships,” CEO Sebastian Ebel told investors, noting that additional costs from the diversions would amount to a “lower two-digit million number.”

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