Thomas Cook has acknowledged a request from its lenders to raise an additional £200 million necessary to secure a rescue deal, led by its largest shareholder.
The setback comes ahead of what is likely to be a pivotal vote on the deal, which was this week pushed back from Wednesday (18 September) to next Friday (27 September).
City sources, cited by the national press, report Cook’s lenders have told the operator to secure the standby funding, or headroom, in addition to the £900 million restructuring package agreed with Chinese travel giant Fosun earlier.
It is understood the cash is being sought to protect against likely winter pressures. Cook has historically factored significant financial headroom into its winter preparations to firm up its balance sheet.
Cook confirmed on Friday morning (20 September) the request for the additional £200 million, adding talks were ongoing over the “final terms” of a proposed recapitalisation and reorganisation of the business with Fosun, its core lending banks and noteholders.
On Thursday (19 September), Sky News reported Cook had revived talks with Sunweb parent Triton Partners over a bid for its Northern European business.
Cook confirmed in May that Triton had made a “highly preliminary and unsolicited indicative offer” for its operations, comprising both its tour operator and airline business, in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.
The Times, meanwhile, reported Cook had been in talks with the government about contingency planning in the event the operator is unable to continue trading.
Cook, at any one time, has hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers overseas across its numerous source markets, who would require repatriation, while a significantly larger number of customers will have forward bookings with the business.
Any such repatriation mission, if required, would likely far exceed the efforts – and cost – of repatriating passengers affected by the collapse of Monarch in October 2017.