Friday 18 October 2019

Brexit uncertainty hits holiday operator Thomas Cook

(PA) Business Desk

Troubled holiday giant Thomas Cook has confirmed "multiple" bids have been made for all or part of its airline as it tumbled to a £1.5bn (€1.7bn) pre-tax loss for the six months to March 31.

The group said Brexit uncertainty has seen Britons delay their holiday plans for the summer and warned challenging trading will put pressure on earnings progress over the full-year.

Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of Thomas Cook, said: "The first six months of this year have been characterised by an uncertain consumer environment across all our markets.

"The prolonged heatwave last summer and high prices in the Canaries reduced customer demand for winter sun, particularly in the Nordic region, while there is now little doubt that the Brexit process has led many UK customers to delay their holiday plans for this summer."

He added: "As we look ahead to the remainder of the year, it's clear that, notwithstanding our early decision to mitigate our exposure in the 'lates' market by reducing capacity, the continued competitive pressure resulting from consumer uncertainty is putting further pressure on margins.

"This, combined with higher fuel and hotel costs, is creating further headwinds to our progress over the remainder of the year."

Thomas Cook said it now expects underlying earnings to fall over the second half, which will put the full-year result under pressure.

It is planning further cost savings in the second half to offset tougher trading and higher fuel expenses, following its decision in March to shut 21 stores and axe more than 300 retail roles.

PA Media

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