Thomas Cook reports £590m loss
The new boss of Thomas Cook pledged the company would turn a corner today as the travel giant’s turnaround plan pushed it to an “unacceptable” loss of £590 (€730) million.
The UK’s second-biggest travel company is counting the cost of restructuring as it reorganises its UK business, cuts its aircraft fleet and sells off hotels.
But Harriet Green, who joined the company as chief executive earlier this year from electronics firm Premier Farnell, insisted the wider headline loss for the year to September 30th masked an improvement in the last three months.
Thomas Cook, which served 23 million customers last year, added summer trading ended strongly while bookings for the winter season were ahead of committed capacity.
The debt-laden group was last year forced to turn to its banks for an additional £200 (€248) million of loans, sparking fears of a collapse.
Ms Green announced a further £100 (€124) million of cost-cutting measures, adding there would be more to come.
She said the plans will have an impact on its airline and internet business and will strip out “duplication” in its structure.
But she would not specify the impact the moves could have on jobs at the firm.
The group’s revenue dropped 3 per cent to £9.49 billion, while its underlying loss narrowed from £103 million to £37 million in the year.
The group said its turnaround plan was progressing well and it had reduced its aircraft fleet from 35 to 30 last year and closed 149 shops and five head office properties.
Ms Green said there was a real sense of urgency and pace of change sweeping across the group.
She said two-thirds of the company’s leaders had changed in the last 17 weeks.
In its central Europe business, the group said it had achieved higher volumes and average selling prices in the competitive German market.
But the Eastern markets experienced difficult conditions with general economic uncertainty.
Thomas Cook added that high fuel costs of £100 million continued to put pressure on profits.