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Thomas Cook says Brexit hitting holiday plans

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AFP

Travel firm Thomas Cook has warned of “further headwinds” for the rest of the year after reporting a £1.5bn loss for the first half of the year.

It said there was “now little doubt” that Brexit had caused customers to delay their summer holiday plans.

Some £1.1bn of the loss was caused by the decision to write-down the value of My Travel, the business it merged with in 2007.

The firm also said it had received “multiple” bids for its airline.

It sought bidders for its fleet of 103 jets as it sought more funds for the business, which has issued a series of profits warnings that have sparked a fall in its share price from 140p a year ago to barely 20p now.

Some 21 retail stores have been closed, Thomas Cook Money, its currency arm, is under review and the company said more “cost efficiencies” were planned.

Peter Fankhauser, chief executive, said that during the first six months of the year there had been “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.

Travel companies usually report a first half loss – last year’s was £303m – but this year the loss was deeper because of the decision to revalue MyTravel “in light of the weak trading environment”. The companies merged in 2007.

Mr Fankhauser said that looking to the rest of the year “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.”

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