11 FEBRUARY 2019
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Lufthansa was reported at the weekend to be considering a bid for tour operator Thomas Cook’s airline business amid reports the travel company is considering a sale to raise cash after a difficult year in 2018 and in preparation for what it says could be a tough 2019.
Thomas Cook as a whole was reported to have a market valuation of £540m and net debt of £1.6bn. Chief executive Peter Fankhauser told Reuters the business “doesn’t need to own an airline outright to be a successful holiday company”.
He said a review was being conducted and the company would retain strong links to the carrier “whatever the outcome”. He indicated cash from an airline sale could be invested in TC’s hotels, improving its digital sales offering and driving further cost savings.
"We are today announcing a strategic review of our group airline,” Fankhauser said. "We are at an early stage in this review process which will consider all options to enhance value to shareholders and intensify our strategic focus. We will provide an update in due course."
The airline operates 103 aircraft from several airports including Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester in Britain and Frankfurt and Munich in Germany. It posted a 37% rise in operating profit in 2018.
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