|Richard J. Vogel, Pullmantur CEO.|
Pullmantur Cruises, in bankruptcy since June, agreed on Wednesday night that it will not resume operations until December 2021. That decision, which is being communicated this morning to travel agencies that were already marketing trips for the next season high, it can be the coup de grace for a company that looks over the precipice. Pullmantur proposes two alternatives to the agencies: the full refund of the payments made by the clients or a voucher for 125% of the amount to travel on a Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises ship from December 31, 2021 to December 30, April 2022.
Faced with a scenario of nine months without income, the company, whose main shareholders are Cruises Investment Holding, owned by the Springwater fund with 51%, and Royal Caribbean, with the remaining 49%, chose in March 2020 to benefit from an ERTE (Temporary Employment Regulation File, for its acronym in Spanish) of force greater than 100% that affects 90% of the 311 workers it has on staff, while another 10% is in ERTE at 50%. In parallel, it ran out of ships to operate, since of the fleet of three ships it had, two of them were scrapped in Turkey and the third is waiting in a Greek port to be cut up. Finally, the company was evicted from the headquarters it occupied in the Campo de las Naciones area in Madrid at the end of September due to non-payment of rent and now occupies a couple of offices in another building in the same area.
With no staff, no ships, no headquarters and with a one-year horizon to operate again, the staff has rebelled against the opacity of the insolvency administrator (Insolvency Data) when it comes to providing them with information on the process, especially in what is refers to the viability plan, and has shown his indignation at the difficult personal situations that some of those affected by the ERTE are experiencing. “There are workers who are asking for help in social organizations and others with problems paying for housing,” emphasize worker sources, who recall that they already experienced liquidity tensions after the summer, since there was a part of the workforce (the 127 workers de Pullmantur SA) that did not collect the August payroll until the end of September.
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