British travel giant Thomas Cook collapses; triggers UK's largest repatriation since World War II
London | Jagran News Desk: Iconic British travel firm Thomas Cook on Monday declared bankruptcy after failing to find further private investment to stave off collapse. The development has led to the UN’s biggest repatriation since World War II to bring back stranded passengers.
The company collapsed after it failed to to find the $200 million from private investors. On Friday it said that it needed $200 million ($250 million, 227 million euros) -- in addition to the $900-million rescue deal secured last month -- or else face administration.
“Despite considerable efforts, those discussions have not resulted in agreement between the company's stakeholders and proposed new money providers. The company's board has therefore concluded that it had no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect,” Thomas Cook said in a statement.
The collapse of the pioneering operator has left up to 150,000 British holiday makers abroad. Two years ago, the collapse of Monarch Airlines prompted the British government to take emergency action to return 110,000 stranded passengers, costing taxpayers some $60 million on hiring planes.
Thousands of workers are now on the brink of losing their jobs, with the 178-year-old company employing about 22,000 staff worldwide, including 9,000 in Britain.
Chinese peer Fosun, which was already the biggest shareholder in Thomas Cook, agreed last month to inject $450 million into the business.
In return, the Hong Kong-listed conglomerate acquired a 75-per cent stake in Thomas Cook's tour operating division and 25-per cent of its airline unit.
Creditors and banks agreed to inject another $450 million under the recapitalisation plan announced in August, converting their debt in exchange for a 75-percent stake in the airline and 25 percent of the tour operating unit.
Thomas Cook in May revealed that first-half losses widened on a major write-down, caused in part by Brexit uncertainty that delayed summer holiday bookings.
The group, which has around 600 stores across the UK, has also come under pressure from fierce online competition.
Posted By: Abhinav Gupta