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Thomas Cook France declares insolvency

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The French arm of bankrupt British tour operator Thomas Cook declared insolvency on Thursday and said it would apply for a judicial recovery procedure with the aim of finding a buyer.

[PARIS] The French arm of bankrupt British tour operator Thomas Cook declared insolvency on Thursday and said it would apply for a judicial recovery procedure with the aim of finding a buyer.

Already on Tuesday, Thomas Cook France - which employs a workforce of 780 and has annual revenues of 425 million euros (S$635.8 million) - had said it would ask the French commercial court of Nanterre for creditor protection.

At a meeting of the unit's works council on Thursday, "the staff representative bodies unanimously approved the draft declaration of cessation of payments and the opening of judicial recovery proceedings," the subsidiary said in a statement.

"The objective remains to ensure the continuity of operations of the French entity and to move quickly to a recovery solution."

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Thomas Cook's German and Austrian units took similar steps following the collapse of the British parent on Monday, leaving around 600,000 holidaymakers stranded worldwide.

The 178-year-old debt-plagued group, which had struggled against fierce online competition for some time and blamed Brexit uncertainty for a recent drop in bookings, declared bankruptcy after failing to secure £200 million (S$345.5 million) from private investors.

The collapse followed a lengthy period of chronic financial turmoil after a disastrous 2007 merger deal and leaves its 22,000 staff out of a job.

Thomas Cook France said that the number of its clients currently stranded had been reduced from around 10,000 on Monday to just over 8,400.

On Tuesday, it said that "a number of serious potential buyers have already expressed a strong interest in Thomas Cook France," without providing any details.

No candidates have so far come forward publicly and the number one French player, TUI France, declined to comment on Thursday.

AFP