Thomas Cook holidays are 'safe', insists its boss - it's the shareholders feeling the pain, writes Joel Hills
If you’ve booked a holiday or are booking one then Thomas Cook insists it’s business as usual. The company is deeply troubled but isn’t bust yet.
If you work for the group then Thomas Cook will tell you that the proposals set out today give it the best chance of survival.
The chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, insists it’s “too soon” to talk about job cuts but the fact is Thomas Cook has more high street stores than it needs in the digital age and it’s hard it to see the UK business surviving in current form.
The immediate pain is being felt by shareholders - who face the prospect of being wiped out - and the banks and bond holders who have lent Thomas Cook money.
It’s important to remember that Thomas Cook is essentially two businesses: a tour operator and an airline.
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As part of the rescue plan Thomas Cook’s unsustainable debts of £1.6 billion will be written off.
Thomas Cooks’ lenders will exchange debt for shares, taking control of the airline.
And its biggest shareholder - the Chinese company FOSUN - will be gifted effective control of the tour operator.
Together they are being asked to provide Thomas Cook with £750m of additional funding.
These are proposals, the details have yet to be thrashed out.
Shareholders and bondholders have to back the final agreement. The question is: what happens if they refuse?
The chief executive insists that there are other options but wasn’t entirely clear what Plan B would be.