Oldest travel firm in rescue talks

Updated September 22, 2019

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In this file photo taken on July 12, pedestrians are pictured walking past a branch of a Thomas Cook travel agent's shop in London. — AFP
In this file photo taken on July 12, pedestrians are pictured walking past a branch of a Thomas Cook travel agent's shop in London. — AFP

LONDON: Britain’s Thomas Cook is in talks with the government and potential investors about a last-minute rescue deal to fend off a corporate collapse that would send shockwaves well beyond the travel sector.

The world’s oldest travel company was fighting for its survival over the weekend after its lenders threatened to pull the plug on a rescue deal that has been months in the making.

Hurt by high levels of debt, online competition and geopolitical uncertainty, Thomas Cook needs to find another 200 million pounds ($250 million) on top of a 900 million pound package it had already agreed, to see it through the winter months when it needs to pay hotels for their summer services.

A person familiar with the situation said the company was in talks with the government and a number of potential investors about bridging the funding gap. It will hold a board meeting on Saturday and Sunday to evaluate its position.

Were Thomas Cook to fail to find the funds it requires, it could be put into administration, a form of creditor protection that often precedes bankruptcy.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2019