Liquidity, sustainability and the rush to list
As the vaccines roll out and lockdowns begin to lift, the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic are finally preparing to open for business once again. In this edition, we speak to two corporate treasurers working in the travel and tourism sectors to reflect on the challenges of the last year. Darrell Campbell, Head of Treasury for the world’s biggest cruise ship operator Carnival Corporation, recounts how Carnival raised over US$22bn in emergency funding in a sweeping liquidity strategy. He explains how his first priority was simply keeping the company afloat, a white- knuckle ride that included tapping the high-yield market and articulating financial models to a new and unknown investor group.
Elsewhere, in our Corporate View, travel operator Kiwi.com’s Adesola Orimalade talks about how he has prioritised cash and cost cutting while aircraft remain grounded, hotels shut and borders around the world largely closed. Orimalade also talks about the importance of treasury resilience during the pandemic, something he learnt in his native Nigeria and an early role at start-up telecoms provider Starcomms.
Neither Carnival Corporation nor Kiwi.com have much cash to spare, but other companies have tapped capital market largesse to build up substantial cash piles. This edition also explores the strategies open to treasury teams with cash on hand, like investment and paying down debt.
Strategic investment to counter the impact of climate change and meet accelerating structural trends is certainly one way to spend it. It’s something Suzano, Brazil’s pulp and paper giant with a celebrated reputation for sustainability is doing. Continuing with our insight into how treasury can guide and integrate sustainability, we talk to Suzano’s Chief Financial Officer on how his team is overseeing investment in sustainability, linking finance to sustainability targets, and engaging with investors.
Finally, and against the backdrop of soaring equity markets, we explore the differences between IPOs, direct listings and SPACs. It’s hardly surprising companies are rushing to list, but experts warn that the US SPAC craze, where companies wanting to list merge with a blank cheque company that has raised money through a public listing, holds real uncertainties. Spotify blazed a trail when it listed directly in 2018, but experts caution that ditching the support of big syndicate banks suits companies with strong brands best.