Thomas Cook: Chinese group Fosun raises stake

The Chinese owner of Club Med yesterday raised its shareholding in Thomas Cook group to 18%.

Fosun increased its stake in the UK travel company by one per cent on the day that shareholders at a general meeting approved to remove the borrowing limitations in its articles for a limited period.

This came after Thomas Cook revealed earlier in April that it may have been in breach of its own borrowing limits.

The group has been at the centre of speculation over possible bidders after it started a review of its airline business in February.

Chinese conglomerate Fosun has long been seen as a potential suitor after first taking a stake in Thomas Cook in 2015, the same year that it acquired all-inclusive resort operator Club Med.

Thomas Cook runs a Chinese joint venture with Fosun, heading by billionaire Guo Guangchang, selling holiday packages to consumers in the country, tipped to become the world’s largest outbound travel market.

Fosun also owns premiership football club Wolves and a 24.5% interest in Canada’s Cirque du Soleil.

Thomas Cook’s share price was up 4.12% to 28.05p yesterday after it released a report revealing a rise in interest in holidays to destinations outside the EU such as Turkey and Tunisia.

But the value is far lower than its price above 140p in May 2018, before the firm posted two profit warnings and reported a pre-tax loss of £163 million compared with a £9 million profit the previous year.

Thomas Cook announced plans in March to shut 21 high street travel agencies with the loss of 320 jobs.

The company has consistently declined to comment on takeover speculation.

However, leading City analyst Andrew Monk, chief executive of VSA Capital, said last week: “Thomas Cook is still the best holiday brand in the industry globally.

“There is a lot of value in that brand. It’s a pan‑European business, with a good airline and good slots, and that offers a lot of value to people.”

He added in a tweet on Sunday: “I’m still convinced there is value here that the market hasn’t quite grasped and the group in better shape than being given credit – but it needs a management shake up.”

More: Thomas Cook ‘may have exceeded borrowing limits’

Thomas Cook will ‘consider all options’ in group airline review

Turkey overtakes Greece in ‘clear shift’ to non-EU destinations

Thomas Cook puts 320 staff under consultation


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