Fosun warns of ‘difficulty’ in Thomas Cook takeover deal

Club Med’s Chinese owner expects to face hurdles in the planned acquisition of a controlling stake in Thomas Cook Group.

Fosun Tourism Group chairman and chief executive Qian Jinnong warned that there was a chance the Chinese company will not take part in the re-organisation of Thomas Cook.

“Like any merger and acquisition, the acquisition of Thomas Cook involves much difficulty,” he was reported as saying at a post-earnings news conference.

“Various sides have got their own priorities. We are intensively listening and negotiating with various parties.”

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Fosun Tourism said last month it was considering a proposal made by Thomas Cook in relation to potential investment and reorganisation. Thomas Cook said last month it was in “advanced discussions” with Fosun, its largest shareholder, and core lending banks.

Thomas Cook is targeting an injection of £750 million of new money, which may comprise capital injection and new financing facilities. Thomas Cook’s external bank and bond debt would also be converted into equity.

The recapitalisation would require reorganisation of the ownership of Thomas Cook’s tour operator and airline business, resulting in Fosun owning a controlling stake in the tour operation and a minority interest in the airline.

Qian, quoted by Nikkei Asian Review in Hong Kong, said: “There are some long-term value investing principles that we will not give up though.”

However, Fosun does not see Brexit impacting the negotiation process.

Fosun Tourism, part of conglomerate Fosun International, which raised $428 million in its initial public offering last year, saw its share price fall 48.2% so far this year.

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The company reported it swung to net profit of 490.02 million yuan ($69.55 million) for the first half from net loss of 254.52 million yuan a year ago as revenue rose 35.9% on year to 9.06 billion yuan.

Resorts operated under the Club Med brand contributed revenue of 6.9 billion yuan, an increase of 5%, for the first half of the year.

Fosun Tourism remains confident on strong pipelines to open new resorts in the future.

These include resorts in the French Alps and a resort in the Dominican Republic, among others.

Several contracts have also been signed to open new resorts in China in the next few years, including Club Med properties.

The company is in discussion with holiday resorts in several provinces in China to provide resort management services, Qian added.


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