Thomas Cook “Advanced Talks” to Chinese Company Fosun
Thomas Cook was a pioneer in the tourism sector already in the nineteenth century.
Today, the famous British tour operator that bears his name – the oldest tourism company in the world, 178 years of history – is in serious financial difficulties.
From his London office, President Peter Fankhauser announced he was in “advanced talks” to proceed with a recapitalization with the banks and with his main shareholder, the Chinese company Fosun, which could take over the majority of his business.
Thomas Cook said in a statement that these discussions are aimed at obtaining liquidity of 750 million pounds (835 million euros), to overcome the winter and have fresh money to invest.
This plan calls for Fosun, in return, to take “a large majority of control” in the tour operator Thomas Cook’s business – 11 million customers in 2018 and 7.4 billion pounds of revenue – and “a significant minority stake” in the his airline.
For the summer of 2019, Thomas Cook has stated that its tour operator bookings have decreased by 9%, while those of the airline are down 3%.
On his Twitter profile, Thomas Cook tries to reassure his customers.
You may have seen that we’ve announced a new plan for our business today. Rest assured nothing changes for you. Your holiday will go ahead as planned and if you’re still looking to book a break, you’re in safe hands with us. https://t.co/urxzGYJ7VL pic.twitter.com/d1MqP8E1Fv
— Thomas Cook (@ThomasCookUK) July 12, 2019
Fosun International, co-founded by billionaire Guo Guangchang, is one of the largest Chinese economic conglomerates. He has spent billions of dollars in the health care sector over the past decade and investing in tourism and fashion companies, in the United States and Europe.
The Fosun group, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, already owns 18% of Thomas Cook and is now also the owner of Club Med and Wolverhampton Wanderers, the English football club.