Thomas Cook sees losses widen as it struggles with debt
Published: 31st May 2012 07:54:45
Thomas Cook has seen its half-year losses increase sharply after a "difficult" six months, but says it is taking "decisive action" to improve its position.
The travel group reported a pre-tax loss of £713m in the half year to 31 March, up from a £269m loss last year.
The company has struggled with high debt levels and the wider downturn in the global travel sector.
Earlier this month, Thomas Cook secured a £1.4bn refinancing package.
This deal gives the company a further three years to repay its debts.
Thomas Cook also secured shareholder approval earlier this week to sell its investments in a Spanish hotel business, and backing for the sale and leaseback of some of its aircraft. The company said on Thursday that when taken together these moves would add £239m to its finances.
The firm has also agreed to sell its Indian business for £94m.
Part of the reason for the big increase in Thomas Cook's losses was a one-off charge of £300m after it was forced to write-down the value of parts of its business.
When this and other exceptional items are pulled out, the firm's underlying pre-tax loss for the six months to 31 March was £328m, compared with £269m a year earlier.
The company is now waiting for its new chief executive Harriet Green to take up the job in July, after her appointment was announced last week.
Interim chief executive Sam Weihagen said the company was moving ahead with efforts to "re-energise our business and begin to rebuild profitability, reduce debt, and continue to provide a fantastic holiday experience for our customers".
Thomas Cook issued three profit warnings last year, and was forced to take an emergency £200m loan.
Its revenues for the six months ending 31 March totalled £3.52bn, up from £3.43bn a year earlier.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Thomas Cook sees losses widen as it struggles with debt [Online] (Updated 31st May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1431968/Thomas-Cook-sees-losses-widen-as-it-struggles-with-debt [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
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