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Thomas Cook shares nosedive amid rumours of imminent collapse

The world's oldest travel agent is currently trying to secure support for a £900mln rescue deal to stave off insolvency after a string of profit warnings and a cash crunch

Thomas Cook Group - Thomas Cook shares nosedive amid rumours of imminent collapse

Shares in Thomas Cook Group PLC (LON:TCG) made a sharp descent on Monday after weekend press reports said industry regulators were on alert for the travel firm’s imminent collapse.

A report from The Sunday Times said the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was on alert over the possibility that it may have to repatriate millions of Thomas Cook passengers in the event the firm went bust.

READ: Thomas Cook Group PLC agrees terms of £900mln rescue with Fosun and lenders

Another weekend report, this time from the Financial Times, said the company had also sought to push back a crucial meeting with bondholders as it attempted to secure support for a £900mln rescue deal with Chinese firm Fosun, Thomas Cook’s majority shareholder, which would leave the conglomerate and lenders In control of the group.

The deal will include Fosun owning 75% of TCG’s tour operating arm and 25% of the airline in return for stumping up around half of the total cost of the rescue package.

The FT said the meeting had originally been scheduled for Wednesday, however, the company was hoping to push back the date to give it more time to conclude negotiations.

Thomas Cook will need to secure the support of three-quarters of its bondholders for the rescue deal to be approved, however, a group of hedge funds were understood to have taken positions against the firm’s debt using credit default swaps, contracts that pay out if the company defaults on its loan repayments.

The time frame is particularly tight as on 1 October the company will need to start putting forward money for next year’s hotel bookings.

Despite the speculation, Thomas Cook continues to reassure its customers, sending travellers emails stating that the reports of its imminent demise had had "no impact" on its operations and that all of its flights were "unaffected and continue to operate as normal".

Thomas Cook has been embroiled in a battle to stay afloat since the summer of 2018, as a string of profit warnings and a worse-than-feared cash shortage have seen the firm demoted from the FTSE 250 and its share price plunge from a three-year high of 146.1p in May last year to just 4.6p today.

In late-afternoon trading, the shares were down 7.7% at 4.6p.

--Adds Thomas Cook customer email details--

Quick facts: Thomas Cook Group

Price: 3.451 GBX

LSE:TCG
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £56.64 m
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