Secret Escapes plots £30m fundraising in bet on post-pandemic travel

Secret Escapes Group is plotting a £30m capital-raising in a bet on the continued recovery of the post-pandemic travel market.

Sky News understands that the online members only travel club has hired Peel Hunt, the investment bank, to coordinate the share sale.

Sources said that Secret Escapes, which owns European travel brands including Travelist, was expected to finalise the funding round in the coming months.

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It raised roughly £40m during the COVID-19 crisis to shore up its balance sheet and had previously secured more than £100m in backing since its launch in 2011.

Last year, it hailed a return to profitability on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) basis, having lost more than £30m in its 2020 financial year.

The company was for a brief period chaired by Kate Swann, the former boss of WH Smith and SSP Group, the transport hub catering operator.

In its most recent financial results, the company said it was well-positioned to resume its pre-pandemic growth trajectory.

"As the cost of living crisis spreads across Europe, our ability to rapidly tailor our available range to meet demand while offering the best prices and driving incremental trade for our hotel and holiday partners will stand us in good stead as customers seek out the best travel deals," said Alex Saint, its chief executive.

Secret Escapes' shareholders include Temasek Holdings, the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, and Chrysalis, the listed investor in technology companies.

A spokeswoman for Secret Escapes declined to comment on Thursday.