Business

British travel agency Thomas Cook seeks U.K. government's help to secure bailout funds

Reuters

Thomas Cook Group PLC, a British travel agency, has approached the U.K. government for a bailout in an attempt to save itself from collapse after its lenders threatened to pull out of a proposed rescue deal, the Financial Times reported late Friday.

The move comes after the firm’s stakeholders requested an extra £200 million ($250 million) in talks to finalize the restructuring plan.

The company, which employs about 21,000 people, was locked in talks with “multiple” potential investors, including the government, to provide the additional £200 million, the FT reported, citing two people briefed on the situation.

“We do not speculate on the financial situation of individual businesses,” a spokesperson for the Department for Transport in London said in a statement.

Thomas Cook said it had no comment on the FT report.

The last-minute demand for additional funding puts the £900 million recapitalization plan agreed by the company with its Chinese shareholder, Fosun, last month at risk, the company said earlier Friday.

If it fails to find funds Thomas Cook, one of the world’s oldest holiday companies, could leave hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers stranded.

Founded in 1841, Thomas Cook has struggled in recent years under intense competition in popular destinations, high debt levels and an unusually hot summer in 2018 which reduced last-minute overseas bookings.

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