The takeover of the ailing british tourism group thomas cook by the chinese conglomerate fosun is progressing faster than planned.
Thomas cook reported in london that an agreement in principle had been reached with the major shareholder fosun, the lending banks and major creditors.
900 million british pounds (995 million euros) of fresh capital is to be injected into the company, half of which will come from fosun. The shares held by existing shareholders were significantly devalued because the debts accumulated to date are to be converted into equity capital.
In a deal, the tui competitor was split into the tour operator business with the german brand neckermann and the airlines division, which also includes the german vacation carrier condor.
Fosun is to take a 75 percent majority stake in the company with the global brand thomas cook, while holding only 25 percent of the airline. This is how the european air rights were preserved. After the plan, the financial houses had the say in the airline company. The fosun group already held around 18 percent of the travel group prior to the deal.
Originally, only a cash injection of 750 million pounds was planned. The deal is also progressing faster than initially planned and is now expected to be completed by early october. There are still competition law examinations and extensive contract negotiations pending. Originally, thomas cook’s chief executive peter fankhauser had named the end of the year as his target date.
Thomas cook had put the plans to sell its airline division, announced in february, on ice. Of the 9,000 or so employees of thomas cook airlines, around 4,000 work for the german company condor, which is headquartered in frankfurt. The airlines together have a good 100 aircraft stationed in germany, great britain, spain and scandinavia and have been operating comparatively independently and profitably within the group for years. An even greater degree of independence could possibly bring new options for further development, it was said in company circles on wednesday.
The fresh money should provide thomas cook with sufficient scope for the winter half-year 2019/2020 and enable it to invest, for example, in hotels. Thomas cook CEO peter fankhauser described the deal announced in july at the expense of the former owners as a "pragmatic and responsible solution" to secure the future of the company. In principle, this is good news for the company’s employees, customers and suppliers. According to fankhauser, the high debt burden was the main obstacle to the company’s success.
Thomas cook is considered the oldest tour operator in the world. Thomas cook, a baptist preacher, organized his first package tour in july 1841, taking some 500 travelers by train from leicester in the uk to a meeting in loughborough. Thomas cook holds around 30 percent of the german tour operator business.