Thomas Cook Group
|Traded as||LSE: TCG|
|Predecessor||Thomas Cook & Son|
Thomas Cook AG
MyTravel Group plc
|Headquarters||London, England, United Kingdom|
|Frank Meysman Non-Executive Chairman Peter Fankhauser (CEO)|
|Products||Charter and scheduled passenger airlines, package holidays, cruise lines, hotels and resorts|
|Revenue||£9.6 Billion (2018)|
|£330 million (2017)|
|£12 million (2017)|
Number of employees
Thomas Cook Group plc is a British global travel company. It was formed on 19 June 2007 by the merger of Thomas Cook AG, itself the successor to Thomas Cook & Son, and MyTravel Group plc. The group owns a number of tour operators, as well as airlines based in the United Kingdom, Germany, Scandinavia and the Balearics. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
In February 2007, it was announced that Thomas Cook AG and MyTravel Group plc were to merge. The companies announced they expected to make savings of over £75 million a year, following the integration of both businesses. Under the terms of the merger, the owners of Thomas Cook AG, KarstadtQuelle (later Arcandor), owned 52% of the new group. The shareholders of MyTravel Group owned the remaining 48% share. The merger was completed in June 2007, and took place through the formation of 'NewCo' which effectively purchased MyTravel and Thomas Cook and was then listed on the London Stock Exchange under the name of Thomas Cook Group plc.
On 14 February 2008, Thomas Cook bought booking website Hotels4U.com for £21.8 million. On 6 March 2008, the company bought back its licence to operate the Thomas Cook brand in the Middle East and Asia from the Dubai Investment Group for an amount estimated to be around 249 million euros. In April 2008 Thomas Cook bought the luxury travel firm Elegant Resorts from its founders Geoff Moss and Barbara Catchpole for an undisclosed figure. The company took over Preston-based Gold Medal International, owner of NetFlights, in a deal worth £87 million in December 2008.
On 8 March 2009 Thomas Cook signed a deal with Octopus Media Technology to host, upload, and provide an online video player for Thomas Cook TV. In Spring 2009 Thomas Cook UK signed a deal with International Entertainment Supplier The E3 Group, to exclusively supply entertainment to the group. In June 2009, Thomas Cook's majority shareholder Arcandor filed for bankruptcy, although the group was not affected. Arcandor's shares in Thomas Cook were sold by its creditor banks in September 2009.
In July 2010, Thomas Cook Group bought German tourism company Öger Tours, which was owned by Vural Öger. It was announced on 8 October 2011 that Thomas Cook Group was to merge its branch network with that of The Co-operative Travel to create the UK's largest travel network. The deal saw the new network 70%-owned by Thomas Cook and 30%-owned by Co-operative Travel. Thomas Cook's Going Places branded branches were rebranded under the Co-operative's brand. On 22 November 2011, Thomas Cook shares lost about three quarters of their value on the London Stock Exchange after the company announced it was in talks with its banks to increase borrowing by some £100 million, but the shares recovered somewhat the following day. There were also reports that the company was planning to close 200 of its 1,200 travel agencies and foreign exchange offices.
In May 2012, Harriet Green was appointed as the chief executive officer of Thomas Cook Group, succeeding Manny Fontenla-Novoa who was CEO from 2003 until August 2011. On 1 July 2013, Thomas Cook announced that it would cease publishing the Thomas Cook European Timetable, along with closure of the rest of its publishing business. The final edition of the timetable was published in August 2013, but publication resumed in early 2014 under a new publishing company not affiliated with Thomas Cook.
In February 2014 Thomas Cook Group sold Gold Medal Travel including Netflights.com to dnata for a reported £45 million. On 26 November 2014, it was announced that Green was leaving with immediate effect, and that Peter Fankhauser, the COO would take over as CEO. In March 2017, Thomas Cook announced to sell its Belgian airline operations to German Lufthansa. Therefore, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium was shut down by November 2017 with two aircraft and all traffic rights being handed to Brussels Airlines. Its three remaining aircraft were relocated to Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium's sister companies.
2006 Carbon monoxide poisoning
In October 2006, two young British children, Christianne and Robert Shepherd aged seven and six years old respectively, died from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a faulty boiler while on a holiday in Corfu booked through Thomas Cook. They were the first such deaths in the company's history. Two Thomas Cook employees were subsequently amongst 11 defendants facing manslaughter by negligence charges at a criminal trial in Greece in 2010 – both were acquitted and the company was cleared of any wrongdoing.
After the inquest, The Mail on Sunday published a news story saying that Thomas Cook had received £3m from the owners of the hotel where the children's deaths had occurred. In response, Thomas Cook made a charitable donation of £1.5m to Unicef. However, the children's family said that they had not been consulted about this donation, which itself became the subject of criticism. In UK newspaper The Independent Joanna Bourke wrote: "Nothing Thomas Cook could ever do would bring back the two children killed by carbon monoxide poisoning on a Greek holiday in 2006. But the firm's handling of the case has been a lesson in how not to manage a crisis".
In August 2018, a British couple, John and Susan Cooper aged 69 and 63 respectively, died on a Thomas Cook holiday, while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada. According to the Egyptian authorities, John died of a heart attack and Susan died out of shock. The couple's daughter, also present at the resort blamed the faulty air conditioning system at the resort. Thomas Cook hurriedly evacuated around 300 holidaymakers staying in the same hotel after other guests started to fall ill.
At the time of the merger, 52% of the shares in the new company were held by the German mail-order and department store company Arcandor (the former owner of Thomas Cook AG) and 48% owned by the shareholders of MyTravel Group. Arcandor filed for bankruptcy in June 2009, and its shares in Thomas Cook were sold in September 2009. Thomas Cook Group plc's three major shareholders as of June 2016[update] were Invesco (19%), Standard Life Investments Ltd (10%), and the business magnate and investor, Guo Guangchang (7.03%). The remainder of the stock floats freely.
Thomas Cook Group operates in five main divisions, UK, Central Europe, Germany, West Europe, and Northern Europe. With a joint fleet, at merger, of 97 aircraft, 2,926 stores, 32,722 employees, and over 19.1 million annual customers, the new group became the second largest travel company in Europe and the UK, behind Thomson Travel which later became TUI Travel. In 2017 Jet2 Holidays overtook Thomas Cook to become the second largest tour operator in the UK, moving Thomas Cook into 3rd place.
Thomas Cook has been a main sponsor of Manchester City and Peterborough United football clubs. On 22 May 2009, Manchester City announced that the six-year partnership with Thomas Cook would conclude at the end of the 2008/09 Premier League Season. Thomas Cook was a sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games. As one of the UK's biggest and most popular providers of package holidays, Thomas Cook was appointed to provide "affordable and accessible" holidays and accommodation throughout the games.
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- London 2012 Olympics: 200,000 spare tickets still to be sold The Daily Telegraph (London), 16 July 2012