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TUI AG Investor Fredriksen Increases TUI Travel Holding to 3.3%

TUI AG shareholder John Fredriksen raised his voting-rights stake in the German company’s tourism unit, TUI Travel Plc, to 3.3 percent.

Fredriksen, who holds about 15 percent in TUI, increased his stake in TUI Travel to 37 million shares from 33.3 million shares on Jan. 21, the Crawley, England-based tourism company said today in a Regulatory News Service statement. He made the acquisition through investment vehicle Monteray Enterprises Ltd.

The Norwegian billionaire has been in a struggle since 2007 with TUI AG executives about their strategy for a disposal of the Hapag-Lloyd shipping line. The German company said Jan. 23 that it hasn’t made any decision on how to implement plans to dispose of Hapag or how it would use the proceeds to boost its tourism business.

“Fredriksen’s move may be significant,” given reports that TUI AG may bid for the rest of TUI Travel and because the the companies have annual general meetings scheduled in early February, Arnaud Gernath, a broker at HPC SA in London, wrote in an e-mail today. TUI Travel shareholders meet Feb. 3 and TUI’s meeting is scheduled for Feb. 9.

Fredriksen’s aide, Tor Olav Troim, didn’t reply to an e-mail seeking comment.

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