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Saga in talks with lenders over increasing debt

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Saga has announced that it is in talks with lenders about its debt levels, causing shares to dip 1.51% on Tuesday morning.

However, despite the negative impacts the business has seen throughout the pandemic, the cruise operator has reported a surge in bookings amid the vaccine rollout.

Saga said that lenders have been “supportive” as the group has seen net-debt jump from £139m to £785m since July.

Saga chief executive, Euan Sutherland, said: “We have made good progress in delivering our new strategy and have accelerated the pace of change at Saga, against the backdrop of the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to our business. 

“Insurance remains resilient, while within travel we are focusing on ensuring the safest possible environment for our guests when cruise and holidays resume, whilst appropriately controlling costs until that time.

“We are confident in our strategy, the strength of our brand and the loyalty and economic resilience of our customers.

“We know they are ready to travel in great numbers and live their lives to the full as the vaccine programme is rolled out. We are excited about the opportunities ahead as we focus on delivering more exceptional experiences for our customers.”

Last week, Sage said that it will require all customers travelling this summer to be vaccinated. The group will require passengers to have both shots of the vaccine at least 14 days before travel as well as provide a negative Covid test at departure.

Nick Stace, chief executive of Saga’s travel arm, commented: “Given that many of our customers are in the priority age range and we’ve done calculations based on what government has said, we think shortly after beginning of May almost all of customers will have received a second vaccination.”

Saga shares (LON: SAGA) are trading -3.99% at 266,72 (1133GMT).