Belfast Telegraph

Thomas Cook is 'fighting back' amid heavier losses

By Jamie Grierson

The struggle at tour operator Thomas Cook was laid bare yesterday as the company revealed heavier losses - but offered some hope with robust summer bookings.

Thomas Cook, which came close to collapse in November after dire trading forced it to turn to its banks for more help, reported pre-tax losses of £151.7m in the three months to December 31, compared with £99.3m last year.

But the UK's second biggest travel company said cumulative bookings for summer holidays were 1% lower than a year ago, which was ahead of rival owner of Thomson Holidays, TUI Travel, which reported a 7% dip.

Chief executive Sam Weihagen said: "We are fighting back. We're taking the necessary steps to rebuild confidence and margins."

Thomas Cook's share price has plunged 91% in the last year as it issued a number of profit warnings and saw the exit of its chief executive, Manny Fontenla-Novoa.

The 170-year-old group, which has 1,300 shops, said it was progressing with its turnaround plan for the UK business, which includes focusing on fewer and better quality hotels and a drive for more online bookings.

The group has now announced plans to sell its majority stake in Thomas Cook India and has received a number of informal expressions of interest, which include European businesses as well as Indian companies.

It also said it will lose six aircraft from its fleet this summer.