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Top shareholder Fosun 'disappointed' over Thomas Cook collapse

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China's Fosun Group, which had led a last-ditch bid to rescue British travel firm Thomas Cook from bankruptcy, on Monday said it was "disappointed" that the effort had failed.

[SHANGHAI] China's Fosun Group, which had led a last-ditch bid to rescue British travel firm Thomas Cook from bankruptcy, on Monday said it was "disappointed" that the effort had failed.

"Fosun is disappointed that Thomas Cook Group has not been able to find a viable solution for its proposed recapitalisation with other affiliates, core lending banks, senior noteholders and additional involved parties," Fosun said in a statement to AFP.

"Fosun confirms that its position remained unchanged throughout the process, but unfortunately other factors have changed."

"We extend our deepest sympathy to all those affected by this outcome."

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Thomas Cook declared bankruptcy on Monday after the rescue effort fell through, triggering the UK's biggest repatriation since World War II to bring back stranded passengers.

Thomas Cook had announced last month that Fosun, which was already the biggest shareholder, would inject £450 million (S$770 million) into the business.

In return, the Hong Kong-listed conglomerate was to acquire a 75-per cent stake in Thomas Cook's tour operating division and 25 per cent of its airline unit.

Creditors and banks were to inject another £450 million, converting their debt into a 75-per cent stake in the airline and 25 per cent of the tour operating unit.

Fosun did not say whether it planned further efforts to rescue or acquire Thomas Cook outright.

An earlier version of its statement in reaction to the collapse said "Fosun will continue to increase investment and cooperation in the UK market."

But it offered no details, and that line was dropped from later amended versions of its statement.

Thomas Cook in May revealed that first-half losses widened on a major write-down, caused in part by Brexit uncertainty that delayed summer holiday bookings.

AFP