Jet2 (LS, Leeds/Bradford) parent Jet2 plc has moved to bolster its balance sheet by GBP537.4 million pounds (USD756 million) as the wait continues for the British government to allow a full-scale return to outbound leisure travel. The tour operator has cancelled all of its holidays until at least June 24 due to the ongoing "short-term uncertainty," but "we remain encouraged by the volume of customer bookings to date for both Winter 2021/22 and for Summer 2022," it said in a stock exchange filing. It has signed a new GBP150 million (USD211 million) term loan agreement maturing in September 2023 and is launching an offering of GBP387.4 million (USD545 million) worth of guaranteed senior unsecured unrated convertible bonds due in 2026.
The bonds will be issued in principal amounts of GBP100,000 (USD141,000) each and will carry a coupon of 1.625% per year payable semi-annually in June and December. "The proceeds of the issuance of the convertible bonds will be used to strengthen Jet2's balance sheet further and position the company for a strong recovery as lockdown restrictions are lifted, through fleet growth and fleet renewal opportunities," Jet2 plc said in the disclosure. The new financing is in addition to GBP1 billion (USD1.4 billion) the company has already raised in efforts to outlast the pandemic.
Last week, the British government removed Portugal from its minimal "green list" from which travellers are not required to quarantine, joining key destinations such as Spain, France, and Italy on the "amber list" requiring ten days of self-isolation on return to the UK. Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2 plc, has been critical of the UK government's reluctance to open up. "Travel has been made safe and [...] 60% of the population have had one vaccine, 25% have had two vaccines, hundreds of thousands have had the virus and built up antibodies.
There has been no recognition of that at all," he said. "The government's approach is ultra-cautious, which in a continent that is walking out of the crisis we've been in, we're being left behind."