Home / Travel / Tourism/ Thomas Cook sets deadline for interest in airline business

Thomas Cook sets deadline for interest in airline business

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Tuesday, 7 May 2019 00:00


FILE PHOTO: A Thomas Cook Airbus A321-200 airplane takes off at the airport in Palma de Mallorca - REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters): Thomas Cook has set a deadline of 7 May for expressions of interest in its airline business, with Indigo Partners and Lufthansa among the likely bidders, sources said. 

The heavily-indebted British travel group put its profitable airline business up for sale in February after profit warnings in 2018 left it needing to raise cash. 

Thomas Cook’s airlines business consists of Germany’s Condor, as well as British, Scandinavian and Spanish operations. 

A sale of the business, in whole or in part, would enable the world’s oldest tour operator to invest more in its own hotels and improve its online sales. 

A source familiar with the discussions said that Indigo and Germany’s Lufthansa appeared most interested in the business. 

British Airways owner IAG should not be ruled out and easyJet has engaged in talks but is seen as less interested, the source added. 

It is not clear whether Ireland’s Ryanair would bid. 

Another source said that private equity groups KKR and Apollo might also look at taking over the whole of Thomas Cook. 

The airlines business would provide access to valuable European slots linking Britain to Spain, Greece and Turkey. 

Thomas Cook, Indigo, IAG and easyJet declined to comment, while Lufthansa and Ryanair were not immediately available. 

Lufthansa executives have said repeatedly that the German airline wants to “play an active role” in consolidation. 

Indigo, the private equity firm managed by veteran US low-cost airline investor Bill Franke has previously made investments in several airlines including Hungary’s Wizz. 

Thomas Cook has been revamping different parts of its business this year, closing high street stores and reviewing its money division as it focuses on holidays. 

The company was hit badly in 2018 when a hot European summer deterred customers from booking holidays through the year. 

One banking source said the airline would fetch less than 1 billion euros ($ 1.12 billion). Thomas Cook has a current market value of just over 400 million pounds ($ 522.68 million). 

Sources said that competition issues could influence which parts of the business different suitors go for. 

Sky News has said China’s Fosun International, a Thomas Cook shareholder, was interested in its tour business.

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

17 things ‘Avengers: Endgame’ teaches us about the state of our superheroes

Friday, 24 May 2019

Art imitates life. Even movies do. Maybe especially so. In these lean times, there’s nothing like a little laughter to stop the press, stem the blood pressure, ease that stress in life. So here goes. Trust you’ll take these tongue-in-cheek. Or pe

Sri Lanka needs urgent surgery!

Friday, 24 May 2019

Sri Lanka was on the slippery slope of a serious crisis, heading for a great disaster of the State, even before the outbreak of Easter Sunday attacks. Now, in the aftermath of the ruthless Easter Sunday attacks, the country’s crisis has become exac

Mangala, Monks, Mangala Sutta and Marx

Friday, 24 May 2019

In the Buddhist belief system, ‘Mangala’ means a ‘blessing’. In the abstract ‘Mangala’ denotes an ‘auspicious sign’. In the ‘Mangala Sutta’, the Buddha has enumerated 38 of the highest blessings that we must or should be guided b

Who built the Matara/Beliatta railway line?

Friday, 24 May 2019

In 2019, after 70 long years of independence, Sri Lanka succeeded in adding to the rail network left behind by the British when we extended the southern line from Matara to Beliatta, a distance of less than 20 miles. While the network left in place b

Columnists More