TUI Travel parent mulls push in central Europe

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The Independent Online

The German parent of TUI Travel is considering acquiring the central European operations of the London-listed company, as part of its plans to become a pure tour operator.

TUI AG, which owns 56 per cent of the UK-based firm, is thought to prefer closer integration through buying TUI Travel's tour businesses in countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland, as opposed to a full takeover by purchasing the remainder of its shares.

TUI AG has focused increasingly on tourism since 2008, such as by divesting its shareholding in its shipping unit Hapag-Lloyd. TUI AG said: "We are evaluating our various options how to focus on our core business and no decision has been made yet." Shares in TUI Travel rose by 6.4p to 204.9p yesterday. The operator of Thomson holidays said last week it had benefited from a surge in late summer bookings following the wet UK weather.