Corendon Dutch Airlines (CD, Amsterdam Schiphol) is taking the Sunweb Group to court after the online package holiday supplier cancelled its acquisition of the airline.

In a statement, the Sunweb Group confirmed the sellers of Corendon were challenging its decision and that the District Court of Amsterdam would review the case.

Sunweb Group Chief Executive Officer Mattijs ten Brink confirmed the company had terminated a Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) concluded on June 3, 2020, for the acquisition of Corendon after it became clear that requirements to complete the transaction would not be concluded by the long-stop date. Sunweb Group and Corendon would continue as two separate companies with different shareholders, he said.

The signed agreement had comprised the acquisition of Corendon's tour operating activities in the Netherlands and Belgium, the back-office in Turkey, and Corendon Dutch Airlines. It also included Corendon's brands Karin's Choice, Maris Life, Stip, and GOfun. The company's airlines in Turkey and Malta and the hotels of Corendon Hotels & Resorts were not part of the acquisition.

The Dutch competition authority in October had cleared the transaction. “This approval made the takeover definitive," Corendon director Steven van der Heijden told Dutch News. “This is the typical behaviour of an investment company which does not feel like making such a takeover given Coronavirus.” Swedish-German investment company Triton acquired the Sunweb Group in 2019.

Ten Brink said: “We regret to make this announcement as Sunweb Group has invested significant time and resources into making this transaction happen. As the long-stop date of the sale and purchase agreement came due without all requirements being satisfied, we terminated the transaction,” he explained. “With the termination of the deal, both organisations can fully focus on their respective key priorities."

He said Sunweb was affected by the COVID-19 crisis but was benefiting from its asset-light business model, a mix between ski- and sun holidays and low fixed costs, as it did not own aircraft or hotels, and sold its packages directly to consumers online. The company has numerous brands in seven European markets, including The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, UK, Germany, and France. It employs about 500 people and has a pre-COVID-19 turnover of EUR600 million (USD711.7 million). “As an organisation, we will use the current period to accelerate our digital agenda. I am pleased that our lenders and shareholders are supportive to take us through this crisis, even as the COVID-19 crisis is likely to drag out," ten Brink said.

Founded in 2000 by Atilay Uslu and Yildiray Karaer, and with more than EUR515 million (USD610.9 million) in turnover in 2018, Corendon started as a travel agency and developed into a tour operator. In 2005, the company launched Corendon Airlines (XC, Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen); in 2011 Corendon Dutch Airlines in the Netherlands; and in 2017, Corendon Airlines Europe (XR, Malta Int'l) in Malta. Besides the travel company, Corendon also opened several hotels in Turkey, the Netherlands, Ibiza, and Curacao.

According to the ch-aviation fleets ownership module, Corendon Dutch Airlines has a fleet of three B737-800s leased from Air Lease Corporation, Carlyle Aviation Partners, and Macquarie AirFinance respectively. It also has a B737-9 on order.