Car and campervan rental company Jucy hopes to send out offer documents to potential investors this week in a bid to raise capital to shore up the business.
Jucy chief executive Tim Alpe confirmed this morning it was working with professional services firm PwC to bring capital into the business after being hit hard by lockdown measures introduced as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
"There wouldn't be a tourism business out there that's not looking at its capital position," Alpe said, although he wouldn't be drawn on how much Jucy is looking to raise.
"It's still early days. We are working through that with PwC and hoping to get the offer out this week."
Alpe said the business, which is wholly owned by the Alpe family, hoped to tap into the private equity investment community in Australia and New Zealand as well as contacts of PwC.
The tourism business has a fleet of 4000 vehicles which operated across New Zealand, Australia and the US prior to the lockdown.
It also operated two cruise boats in Milford Sound and accommodation in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown through its Jucy Snooze business.
Alpe said it had been forced to lay off staff which was "tragic" but had been able to utilise the employer wage subsidy to hold on to most of its people.
It employed around 430 staff before the lockdown and had made 60 positions redundant since then.
"Ultimately our business will be very different to what it was pre-Covid."
"It's been bloody tough," he added.
A search of the Ministry of Social Development website shows a number of Jucy companies have received the employer wage subsidy.
Jucy Group received $380,968 for 55 employees, Jucy Snooze got $359,791 for 54 employees, Jucy by Design was paid out $105,444 for 15 staff and Jucy Rentals NZ was paid $806,767 for 120 staff.
Alpe said he was taking some heart from positive talk of a transtasman tourism bubble being allowed to open up.
"There is some positive news coming out in terms of a transtasman bubble. There has been a lot more talk of that over the last 24 hours."
Alpe said it had a large international base and a strong brand across New Zealand and Australia.
"New Zealanders and Australians can't travel overseas. Yet they all want to continue to travel."
Domestic travel is being seen as vital to the recovery of the tourism sector.
The Government is expected to announced the conditions around what alert level 2 means tomorrow and a key aspect will be whether Kiwis are allowed to travel domestically.
Alpe said the company was really hopeful of the domestic market being allowed to open up followed by the transtasman market.
It also has operations in the US in California, Las Vegas and San Francisco.
"Right now they are in hibernation mode.
"We are assessing all our businesses at the moment. The US is in a different situation to New Zealand and Australia. For us it's a bit of wait and see."
But if the US market opened up for domestic travel it would be ready to go, he said.
Alpe said it was waiting to see what the Government's response would be for the tourism sector and whether the wage subsidy would be extended beyond the initial 12 weeks.
"If there isn't something around the wage subsidy there will be a lot of people out of work," he predicted.
Jucy was started in Auckland in 2001 and is owned by the Alpe family.
Last year the National Business Review reported the family was worth $150 million and that it was believed the Jucy business had annual turnover of $50m.
Jucy was also hit recently by the theft of around 100 of its vehicles.
Yesterday Police said 85 of the vehicles had been found mainly at addresses in South Auckland.
Twenty-nine arrests have been made in relation to the burglary.
Of those, 14 people were prosecuted.
Alpe said Police had done an outstanding job recovering most of the 94 vehicles.
It was working with its insurance company on a claim but Alpe said a lot of the vehicles were not damaged.
"There was the odd lost key."