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Egyptian tourism entrepreneur Hamed El Chiaty has bought a 3.4 percent stake in TUI Group.

El Chiaty, who, along with his family, also owns travel conglomerate Travco Group, said he knew and trusted TUI’s management team. He noted that the company’s move from a traditional tour operator to an owner of hotels and cruise ships ensured it could “absorb the temporary burdens” caused by the worldwide grounding of the 737 Max aircraft and the coronavirus outbreak.

El Chiaty is no stranger to TUI having at various times in the past held a small stake in the business. He has also worked closely with the company through Travco.

“The initiated transformation of TUI into a digital company and the substantial investments in digitalization and digital platforms are convincing. This further transformation has significant potential to expand their leading international position,” El Chiaty said.

The new shareholder is getting a big discount on his purchase. Since the start of the year, TUI’s share price has more than halved in value on the back of the coronavirus outbreak.

At the start of March, TUI said it would look at budget cuts and hiring freezes to deal with the crisis, although it stressed that it had only seen a “marginal effect” on its operations.

El Chiaty is making the investment through Cyprus-based DH Deutsche Holdings Ltd, where he is named as managing director, other directors include El Chiaty’s son Karim.

TUI’s biggest shareholder is Unifirm Limited, owned by Russian billionaire Alexey Mordashov and his family, which holds a 24.95 percent stake.

“We confirm that TUI has received a voting rights notification from Hamed El Chiaty on the acquisition of 3.4 percent of TUI AG’s shares, held by DH Deutsche Holding Limited. We welcome every new shareholder taking shares in TUI. We maintain a long-standing, strategic partnership with Mr. Hamed El Chiaty in the hotel business,” a TUI spokesperson told Skift.

Photo Credit: A TUI Group 787 Dreamliner. The company has a new shareholder. TUI Group