Thomas Cook investors back crucial sell-off
THOMAS COOK won a major breakthrough in its turnaround plans yesterday after shareholders almost unanimously backed two key disposals, without which the holiday giant had warned it could collapse.
The 171 year-old tour operator said 99.99 per cent of proxy votes supported the planned sale and leaseback of part of its aircraft fleet and the disposal of five Spanish hotels.
The vote, collected at an investor meeting in London yesterday, was crucial in paving the way for the £183m sale and leaseback of part of its aircraft fleet with Guggenheim Aviation Partners and the sale of its Spanish hotel chain Hotels Y Clubs De Vacaciones to Grupo Iberostar for around £60m.
Thomas Cook came close to collapse last year after dire trading conditions led to a string of profit warnings and a loss of £398m.
Earlier this month, the debt-laden tour operator secured a £1.4bn deal with lenders, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, to extend the maturity of its loans to 2015.
Ahead of the meeting, the company sent investors a circular, warning that it would default on some of the terms of the loans if shareholders did not back the disposals.
Thomas Cook also recently agreed to sell its Indian arm to Toronto-based Fairbridge Capital for 8.2bn rupees (£94m), and will seek shareholder approval in July.
The group, which has also undergone a management shake-up, unveiled last week that Premier Farnell boss Harriet Green, will be stepping in as its new chief executive from 30 July. It will publish first-half results tomorrow, but has already posted a £262.7m loss for the winter.