Thomas Cook ceases operations, leaving hotels' future in flux

After nearly 180 years, Thomas Cook's tour operations have shut down. On Monday, September 23, the U.K.-based Thomas Cook Group entered into “compulsory liquidation with immediate effect” and ceased operations, canceling all flights on Thomas Cook Airlines as well as all currently booked vacation packages, leaving thousands of travelers stranded around the world.

A statement on the Thomas Cook Group website said the team had worked “with a range of key stakeholders over the weekend” in order to secure final terms on the recapitalization and reorganization of the company. As of Friday, the company was talking with its largest shareholder, Fosun Tourism Group and its affiliates, Thomas Cook’s core lending banks and a majority of its 2022 and 2023 senior noteholders, about a request for a seasonal standby facility of £200 million on top of a £900 million injection of new capital. 

“Despite considerable efforts, those discussions have not resulted in agreement between the company’s stakeholders and proposed new money providers. The company’s board has therefore concluded that it had no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect,” the statement said.

Broader Implication

A number of other Thomas Cook Group companies also have entered into compulsory liquidation, with members of either AlixPartners UK or KPMG (depending on the company) being appointed as special managers for these businesses, the statement continued. 

Thomas Cook had expanded its business into hospitality with approximately 200 own-brand hotels in its portfolio. The company launched Thomas Cook Hotel Investments, a joint venture with Swiss-based hotel property development company LMEY Investments, to support the company’s proprietary hotel portfolio. In June, Thomas Cook announced plans to invest €40 million in its managed proprietary hotels in Spain through summer 2020. 

While the group’s companies are being liquidated, it is too early to say what will happen to its hotel business, a representative of one of the special managers told Hotel Management on condition of anonymity. While the Group’s U.K.-listed companies are in liquidation, some of its international affiliates are not, which will likely complicate the process in regards to future ownership or management rights of any assets. 

A receptionist answering the phone at the new Casa Cook Ibiza said the hotel was still open as normal.

Look for updates on this developing story from Hotel Management as more information becomes available.