UPDATED: Thomas Cook agrees £200m loan deal with banks

Thomas Cook has announced it has reached an agreement with its banks over a new £200 million loan facility to take it to April 2013.

The arrangement replaces a short-term £100 million facility announced in October, the firm confirmed in an announcement tonight.

It added the deal “significantly improves the robustness of the group’s financial position”. The arrangement involved Barclays, HSBC, RBS and UniCredit,

In addition, the banks have agreed a further relaxation of the financial covenants under the existing facilities. This provides Cook with “much increased headroom to deal with unexpected events and the effects of an uncertain economic environment”. 
The statement continued: “As previously announced, the Board is taking steps to reduce the Group’s debt and reach a more appropriate capital structure over time. The Group will also undertake a strategic review.
“The Group will announce its preliminary results for the twelve months ended September 30 2011 during the week commencing December 12, 2011.” 
Sam Weihagen, group interim chief executive, Thomas Cook Group plc said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have reached agreement and I would like to thank the banks for acting so swiftly.

“Over the last few days, we have been overwhelmed by the messages of support from our holidaymakers, suppliers and partners and I would like to thank them for their good wishes and our employees for their hard work and dedication.

“For over 170 years Thomas Cook has provided customers across the world with fantastic travel experiences. Today they can look forward confidently to holidays with us for many years to come.”

Ian Ailles, chief executive for mainstream at Thomas Cook UK and Ireland, said

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the support from customers who’ve come out in their droves to show their support – not just by booking holidays this week, but by taking the time to write to us. We are extremely grateful and I would personally like to thank them.

“Thomas Cook is the original package holiday provider. No other travel company has seen or experienced more over the past 170 years. Having weathered depressions, recessions and two World Wars, Thomas Cook is certain to remain at the heart of the high street and taking Brits abroad for many more years to come.”

“Some companies have taken the opportunity to have a cheap dig; it’s not something we would do, but we’ve broad shoulders and there’s been overwhelming support from the majority and we’re concentrating on what we do best, sending people on their hard-earned holiday.”

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