Thomas Cook collapsed owing creditors nearly £9 billion, a new report from the official receiver has revealed.
Cook’s total liabilities extend to £8.99 billion, with £885 million owed to trade creditors alone.
This includes £393 million from Cook’s tour operator and £448 million from its airline. Customers are owed £585 million and employees a further £45 million.
The bulk of the liabilities, though, rest in £5.7 billion debts arising from other group companies. An additional £1.775 billion is owed to banks and other lenders.
The figure eclipses the £176 million to £244 million that could be clawed back from the sale of Cook’s assets.
These include Cook’s high street retail estate, which Hays Travel picked up for £6 million; the operator’s slots at various UK airports, understood to have raised in the region of £36 million to date; and Cook’s intellectual property rights and brand, sold to Chinese travel giant Fosun for a reported £11 million.
Other potential saleable assets include Cook’s call centre, Peterborough HQ and aspects of its operations in Scandinavia and central Europe.
Cook’s special managers have also disposed of various subsidiary and joint venture businesses, and collected cash and currency from the firm’s retail stores.
They are continuing to pursue the sale of other assets including aircraft and engineering stock.
The £585 million owed to customers, the report stresses, does not include the Civil Aviation Authority’s claim.
David Chapman, official receiver and liquidator, said any payments to creditors were dependent on the sale of assets and cost of proceedings relating to the disposal of Cook’s estate.
Chapman said Cook’s directors attributed the group’s collapse to: reduced holiday demand due to “a change in customer holiday patterns”; customer uncertainty arising from Brexit, including the initial 29 March departure date which “led to UK customers delaying booking holidays in Europe”; the summer 2018 heatwave “which caused potential customers to holiday at home”; and increased challenges from lower-cost online competitors.
The report highlights the affairs of 26 Thomas Cook Group companies and subsidiaries wound up on 23 September.
Additional reports on a further 27 Cook companies and subsidiaries will follow in due course, the official receiver has said.