Date: Thursday 31 May 2012
The heavily indebted travel firm Thomas Cook, has reported increased losses as political instability in north Africa and a poor performance in north America hit the half year performance.
In the six months to the end of March revenues increased 3% over the same period of 2011 to £3.517bn but underlying losses before tax rose from £232.9m to £328.3m.
The underlying loss per share reduced from 19.6p last year to 18.1p this year but debt now stands at an eye watering £1.389.9bn.
Thomas Cook has been desperately selling off the family silver to pay down its debt mountain. It has agreed the sale of a hotel chain in Spain and the sale and leaseback of some of its aircraft. Together those deals will raise £239m. The disposal of Thomas Cook India has also been arranged, bringing in £94m.
On top of the asset sales, a new management team has been brought in, with new Chief Executive Harriet Green recruited from Premier Farnell. She will take up the reins at the end of July, a new Chief Financial Officer, Michael Healy, joins at the beginning of July.
The results for the last six months reflect problems in the French business, where traditional destinations in north Africa have become understandably less attractive, resulting in a £17m increase in losses. In the US, where the winter season was “very weak” losses grew £25m. Russia also disappointed as Egypt became a no-go.
Commenting on the results, the current Chief Executive, Sam Weihagen, said: “At the beginning of this month we were delighted to announce the agreement with our banking group of longer term and more flexible funding. This, combined with the sale of Thomas Cook India, the sale and leaseback of some of our aircraft and the disposal of other non-core assets, provides the Group with a much stronger financial platform".
The market said au contraire, Thomas Cook shares had dropped 11% by 09:35. Over the last 12 months the stock has collapsed 88%.
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