TUI
TUI is confident of delivering a 10% increase in earnings this yearGetty

Tourism industry giant TUI Travel on Wednesday (11 May) unveiled plans to slim down its operations even further by selling its specialist group of adventure and education holiday brands.

The FTSE 100-listed group, the world's largest tour operator, revealed it intends to dispose of UK-based Specialist Group, a provider of sailing tours and outdoor breaks. The company added the decision to sell the division, which recorded sales of €1.8bn (£1.4bn, $2bn) last year and operates more than 50 different brands, was motivated by the intention to deliver the best possible return to TUI's shareholders.

The news comes a month after the Crawley-headquartered group put its Hotelbeds Group, which offers rooms to travel agencies and airlines from its database, up for sale for approximately €1.2bn.

TUI Travel, which was formed in 2014 by the merger of UK-based TUI Travel and German majority owner TUI AG, has reorganised its business over the past two years. In 2015, the company formed its main tourism business, which accounted for 85% of revenues in the last financial year, by combining its tour operating, hotel and cruise ship divisions.

The move left the Hotelbeds and specialist units as separate entities, leading the group to seek to streamline its operations.

"The agreement to dispose Hotelbeds Group for €1.2bn and confirmation today of our intention to dispose Specialist Group enables us to focus fully on our growth strategy and to strengthen our balance sheet," said group chief executive Fritz Joussen.

Meanwhile, TUI said it planned to expand the presence of its holiday and cruise business in France by acquiring Canada-owned Transat's French tour operating business in a deal worth around €55m.

In a separate announcement, the tour operator said revenue in the first half of the year grew 2.7% from the corresponding period in 2015 to €6.79bn, ahead of analysts' expectations for a €6.61bn figure.

The group posted a loss before interest, tax, debt and amortization of €236.9m, compared to a loss of €283.1m a year earlier.