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Thomas Cook in debt cutting move

THOMAS Cook took another step towards calmer waters be announcing a £425m fundraising with shareholders in a bid to cut debt.

The move is part of a wider £1.6bn refinancing plan, and comes after reports of improved trading for the summer season, including a 10% reduction in the number of holidays left to sell compared with last year.

Chief executive Harriet Green said Thomas Cook cut losses to £275.6m for the seasonally quieter half year to March 31.

She said progress made over the last year in restructuring the business had enabled it to carry out the refinancing, which will include a deeply-discounted rights issue raising around £305m.

The UK's second largest holiday operator, saved from collapse a year ago after a rescue deal with lenders, has unveiled a strategy based on offering "trusted and personal" holiday experiences and more city breaks.

It will cut costs by £170m in this financial year, an increase today of about £25m on previous forecasts.

Thomas Cook said it had sold around 60% of its holidays for the summer season, an increase of 2% on a year earlier.

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