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  1. ITV Report

£590m losses at Peterborough-based Thomas Cook

Peterborough-based travel agent Thomas Cook has reported a loss of £590m Photo: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The new boss of Thomas Cook pledged the Peterborough-based company would turn a corner today as the travel giant's turnaround plan pushed it to an "unacceptable" loss of £590 million.

The UK's second-biggest travel company is counting the cost of restructuring as it reorganises its UK business, cuts its aircraft fleet and sells off hotels.

But Harriet Green, who joined the company as chief executive earlier this year from electronics firm Premier Farnell, insisted the wider headline loss for the year to September 30 masked an improvement in the last three months.

Thomas Cook, which served 23 million customers last year, added summer trading ended strongly while bookings for the winter season were ahead of committed capacity.

The debt-laden group was last year forced to turn to its banks for an additional #200 million of loans, sparking fears of a collapse.

Shares in Thomas Cook fell more than 3% after the results were published.

Ms Green announced a further £100 million of cost-cutting measures, adding there would be more to come. She said the plans will have an impact on its airline and internet business and will strip out "duplication" in its structure.

But she would not specify the impact the moves could have on jobs at the firm.

The group's revenue dropped 3% to £9.49 billion, while its underlying loss narrowed from £103 million to £37 million in the year. The group said its turnaround plan was progressing well and it had reduced its aircraft fleet from 35 to 30 last year and closed 149 shops and five head office properties.

Ms Green said there was a real sense of urgency and pace of change sweeping across the group. She said two-thirds of the company's leaders had changed in the last 17 weeks.

In its central Europe business, the group said it had achieved higher volumes and average selling prices in the competitive German market. But the Eastern markets experienced difficult conditions with general economic uncertainty.

Thomas Cook added that high fuel costs of £100 million continued to put pressure on profits.