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Sawiris’ largest company in Europe files for bankruptcy

FTI Group, the third-largest tour operator in Europe, has filed for bankruptcy with the Munich District Court. The company, majority-owned by Egyptian businessman Samih Sawiris with a 75.1 percent stake, was overwhelmed by debt and supplier demands, according to a statement released by the company and reported by Reuters.

FTI has opened a hotline and website for customers and will have to either cancel or partially complete all trips starting June 4, potentially affecting thousands of vacationers at the start of the busy summer travel season.

The German Foreign Ministry has assured that the tourism industry and a travel insurance fund will handle the repatriation and support of affected tourists. The German Ministry of Economic Affairs has called the insolvency “tragic” but stated that it cannot provide any further assistance.

A spokesperson for the German Finance Ministry has indicated that the government will need to assess the impact of the insolvency on the financing of recovery aid granted to the company through the fast-track initiative during the pandemic.The spokesperson added that only small recoveries from outstanding claims can be expected.

The spokesperson further noted that the government had been waiting for approval to sell the receivables as the most economical way to recover funds before the company filed for bankruptcy. With the bankruptcy, the recovery of the receivables is no longer possible.

FTI reportedly employs around 11,000 people worldwide and offers tours to over 40 destinations around the globe,including through its 10,000 partner agencies in Germany.

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