For­mer Saga boss back on board

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Louis Ash­worth

THE for­mer boss of over-50s hol­i­day firm Saga is plan­ning to pump as much as £100m into the busi­ness and mount a dra­matic re­turn to its board.

Sir Roger De Haan will stump up the lion’s share of a £150m eq­uity raise by Saga, with other in­vestors asked to sup­ply the rest as part of ef­forts to re­store its for­tunes.

The son of Saga’s founder Sid­ney De Haan, Sir Roger sold it to pri­vate eq­uity group Char­ter­house for £1.35bn in 2004 af­ter 20 years at its helm. He will take a 20pc stake and re­place Patrick O’Sul­li­van as its non-ex­ec­u­tive chair­man un­der pro­pos­als which the busi­ness said are well ad­vanced.

Saga said that the 71-year-old will serve for an ex­pected term of three years. Euan Suther­land will re­main in place as chief ex­ec­u­tive.

Sir Roger will buy an ini­tial tranche of up to £60.6m of shares at 27p each, al­most dou­ble Fri­day’s clos­ing price of 13.6p. He will in­ject a fur­ther £14.9m at up to 15p per share, and will spend up to £24.5m more on stock if there is not enough de­mand from other in­vestors.

The Covid pan­demic forced Saga to sus­pend its cruise op­er­a­tions and bring 3,000 cus­tomers back to Bri­tain. It has drawn down money from lenders and sold non-es­sen­tial as­sets to shore up its fi­nances.

Shares have fallen 74.3pc this year, re­duc­ing the company’s mar­ket value to just £153m.

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