1. ITV Report

Thomas Cook sell-off to boost business

Peterborough-based Thomas Cook wants to sell of part of its aircraft fleet to help turn the business around. Photo: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Peterborough-based Thomas Cook is expecting to see a breakthrough in its turnaround when it secures approval for two key disposals, without which the holiday giant has warned it could collapse.

The tour operator, which appointed a new chief executive on Thursday, needs investors to back the planned sale and leaseback of part of its aircraft fleet and the disposal of five Spanish hotels. Thomas Cook said in a shareholder circular that its directors were confident that the required majority would be achieved when investors vote on the disposals on Tuesday.

Failure to support the fundraising move would jeopardise the company's recent £1.4 billion deal with lenders to extend the maturity of its bank loans to 2015. Later in the week, the group will publish its interim results but has already revealed losses of £262.7 million for the winter period after a particularly poor performance in North America and France.

Thomas Cook investors meeting on Tuesday are expected to approve the sell-off of parts of the business Credit: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The group unveiled Harriet Green, who is currently the boss of Leeds-based electrocomponents distributor Premier Farnell, as the person to lead its turnaround strategy from July 30.

The company was plunged into crisis in November after it went back to its lenders to ask for an additional £100 million lifeline, sparking fears of a collapse, but it is now hopeful that it has a platform for recovery. Its turnaround plan for the UK business includes focusing on fewer and better-quality hotels and a drive for more online bookings.