Former Saga boss back on board with £100m injection

Sir Roger De Haan will stump up the lion’s share of a £150m equity raise by Saga and become its new chair

Saga’s shares have fallen 74pc this year Credit: Heathcliff O’Malley

The former boss of over-50s holiday operator 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.

Saga said Sr Roger’s planned investment reflects “his belief in the underlying strength of the Saga brand and business”.

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.

Saga’s board said the fundraising “will support the execution of its reinvigorated strategy under its strengthened management team”, returning the group to sustainable growth and restoring “significant shareholder value”.

It added: “the current COVID-19 crisis highlights the strength of the Saga brand, its diversified business model and its direct relationship with its customers”.

Alongside announcing the planned raise, Saga revealed it has also rejected an “an unsolicited and highly conditional” 33p-a-share approach from a consortium of two US investors, who have since confirmed they are no longer considering an offer.