The troubled UK tour operator Thomas Cook said on Wednesday that it had reached an agreement to hand over control of its tour operator business and part of its airline to Chinese Fosun for 450 million pounds.
The Chinese company Fosun, until now the main shareholder of the British tour operator with 17% of the capital and owner of Club Med, will pay 450 million pounds (500 million euros) to Thomas Cook to acquire 75% of its tour operator activity, as well as 25% of its airline.
The creditors of Thomas Cook, including its banks, pledge to also contribute 450 million pounds and convert their debt to buy 75% of the airline and 25% of the activity of the tour operator.
Thomas Cook hopes to complete the operation in early October but still needs to get a series of green lights, including from regulatory authorities.
The tour operator warns that its recapitalisation could result in the end of its listing on the London Stock Exchange, even if the board wants, for now, to maintain it.
The 178-year-old tour operator specialises in turnkey vacations and faces financial difficulties due to competition from online tour operators and a difficult economic environment, particularly in the UK, where Brexit causes uncertainty among tourists.
The Thomas Cook Airlines Group comprises Condor (Germany), Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia, Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics and Thomas Cook Airlines UK. The Belgian branch was sold to Brussels Airline three years ago.