Thomas Cook, the oldest name in travel, is near completion of a rescue deal that will keep the package-tour giant in business, but under new ownership after several years of repeated financial crisis in a changing travel market.
Under the plan, Chinese company Fosun, which already owns 18% of Cook, will become majority owner and invest £750 million, while the banks that hold the company's £1.6 billion in debts will swap most of the debt for shares of the company. The Thomas Cook airline, most profitable unit of the company is not part of the deal. Last year, Cook tried to sell the airline as a way out of its crisis.
The deal, expected to be finalized within weeks, will be a relief to customers who have already bought upcoming holiday packages, and will encourage new sales, the company believes. Company head Peter Fankhauser told reporters “Our holidays are safe.”
The airline's new structure has to be separate from the rest because of EU rules requiring majority European ownership, but Fosun will have a large but less than majority holding in it, as well.