Palma.—The Majorcan-based tour operator, applied for “Pre-concurso de acreedores”, a type of bankruptcy to protect itself from creditors on February 15 and then on February 18 it communicated to its workers that it was ceasing operations with the loss of thousands of jobs across the country and 80% of the 1'400-strong workforce here in the Balearics.

As staff yesterday continued their protests outside Orizonia headquarters at the ParcBit technology park and offices across the country the owners of the group which was born out of Grupo Iberostar, the Majorcan tourism group split into three divisions: Iberostar Hotels and Resorts; Grupo Receptor; and Grupo Emisor.

In March 2006, the owner of the Grupo Iberostar, Miguel Fluxá had 12 offers for Grupo Receptor and Emisor and on July 26 a deal was confirmed. The Carlyle Group from the United Kingdom took 55%, Vista Capital from Spain bought 36% while ICG Equity Fund purchased 5% and ten managers of the company acquired the remaining 4%.

The Orizonia Group then took ownership of several travel agencies; tour operator Iberojet; retail travel agencies Viajes Iberia and Quo Viajes; and an airline called Iberworld. The company is a major stakeholder in Ibero Cruises, which it owns in conjunction with Carnival Corporation & plc, and which replaced its own cruise line Iberojet Cruceros in 2007.

In their first full year of trading (2007), Orizonia reported a turnover of 2.676 billion euros which was an increase of 11.4% over 2006 in which they turned over 2.402 billion euros, but it has been unable to weather the storm of the recession and with mounting debts to hoteliers and travel agents, the group had little option but to file for bankruptcy protection.

Yesterday, company directors and share holders were in talks with the Barcelo Group which has apparently bought part of Orizonia's airline Orbest and its chain of travel agents Viajes Orbis which will save 800 jobs across Spain, 120 here in the Balearics.

A further 700 jobs have apparently also been saved by selling its hotel chain Luabay to the Majorcan travel giant Globalia which had intended to buy the whole Orizonia group last year.