Travelex strikes rescue deal but 1,300 UK jobs go

Travelex Image copyright Getty Images

Foreign exchange firm Travelex has struck a deal to stay afloat, but with the loss of more than 1,300 jobs in the UK.

Administrators PwC said a cyber-attack followed by the Covid-19 crisis had «acutely» hit the firm.

Travelex was held to ransom by hackers in January after the cyber-attack forced it to turn off its systems.

PwC said that a so-called «pre-pack» administration deal had been reached which had saved 1,800 UK Travelex jobs.

This is where a firm sells all or some of its assets to a pre-determined buyer and appoints administrators to do so.

PwC said parts of the firm had been bought by a newly created company controlled by its lenders.

That includes the parts that deal with supermarkets and large corporate and banking customers, and some of its airport business.

However, the High Street shops and airport branches that were closed during lockdown will not reopen.

It said the deal had delivered £84m of new money and substantially reduced the business’s debts.

Global brand

Toby Banfield, joint administrator at PwC, said it had enabled a core part of the business to continue operating under new ownership.

He added: «The completion of this transaction has safeguarded 1,802 jobs in the UK and a further 3,635 globally, and ensured the continuation of a globally recognised brand.

«Unfortunately, as the majority of the UK retail business is no longer able to continue trading, it has regrettably resulted in 1,309 UK employees being made redundant today.

«Our dedicated employee team will be providing support to all of the people impacted.»

Travelex suffered more than a month of disruption to its operations at the start of this year, after it discovered on New Year’s Eve that it had been hacked.

The firm did not disclose full details, but a gang called Sodinokibi claimed to have accessed reams of sensitive customer data and demanded a ransom of $6m (£4.6m).

At the height of the disruption, cashiers resorted to using pen and paper to keep money moving at bureaux de change in airports and on High Streets.

Travelex is the latest firm to shed jobs as the coronavirus crisis continues to take its toll on the economy and the government’s job retention scheme starts to wind down.

So far this month, Dixons Carphone has said 800 jobs are to go, Hays Travel said 878 employees could lose their jobs and DW Sports said 1,700 jobs were at risk.

In the hospitality sector, hotel giant LGH has said 1,500 jobs are at risk, while Pizza Express said on Tuesday that it could close 67 UK restaurants, with the loss of 1,100 jobs.