MONTREAL -- Transat A.T. shareholders are scheduled to meet on Tuesday morning for an extraordinary virtual meeting to vote on the takeover of the company by Air Canada.

The largest airline in Canada is now offering $5 per share of the tour operator in an offer valued at $190 million.

Its previous offer was $18 per share for a value of $720 million.

President and CEO Jean-Marc Eustache nonetheless recommended that shareholders approve the offer, but said the company was still taking measures to improve its financial position in the event that the merger with Air Canada was to fail.

Due to the novel coronavirus crisis, the tour operator ended a disastrous financial year by unveiling a net loss of $238.1 million for shareholders last Friday. Its revenues have plunged 96 per cent from last year.

Transat A.T. was overwhelmed by the health crisis which caused international borders to be closed and shook the air transport and tourism sectors due to a collapse in demand.

Canadian airlines have asked for assistance from the Government of Canada, but nothing of the sort has yet been announced.

Transat A.T. expects the European Commission, whose green light is essential, to pronounce on its sale to Air Canada around Feb. 9.

Transport Canada's decision is also awaited. The deadline for the sale of the tour operator has been set for Feb. 15.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2020.