World’s oldest travel company in talks over rescue deal, Latest Business News - The New Paper

World’s oldest travel company in talks over rescue deal

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LONDON Britain's Thomas Cook is in talks with the government and potential investors about a last-minute rescue deal to fend off a corporate collapse that would send shock waves well beyond the travel sector.

The world's oldest travel company was fighting for its survival over the weekend after lenders threatened to pull the plug on a rescue deal that has been months in the making.

Hurt by high levels of debt, online competition and geopolitical uncertainty, Thomas Cook needs to find £200 million (S$343 million) on top of a £900 million package to see it through the winter months when it needs to pay hotels for their summer services.

More than 20,000 jobs would be at risk if it collapses, while tens of thousands of travellers would be left stranded.

A person familiar with the situation said the company was in talks with the government and a number of potential investors about bridging the funding gap. It is holding a board meeting over the weekend to evaluate its position.

"We have not given up," the person said, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the situation.

The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association, which represents Thomas Cook staff, appealed to the government for "real financial support".

Mr Manuel Cortes, the group's general secretary, wrote to the government calling on it to "act if required and save this iconic cornerstone of the British high street and the thousands of jobs that go with it".

He wrote: "The company must be rescued no matter what. No British government in its right mind would countenance the loss of so many jobs..." - REUTERS