Thomas Cook owner plans brand relaunch as travel sector flounders amid pandemic fallout

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The owner of defunct travel agent Thomas Cook is planning to relaunch the brand imminently following its collapse last year as the travel industry flounders amid the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chinese conglomerate Fosun, which bought the Thomas Cook brand and other parts of its intellectual property for GBP11mln and had been a major shareholder prior to its collapse last September, could announce the resurfacing on the brand in the coming days, according to Sky News.

Fosun has reportedly recruited a number of former Thomas Cook executives to work on the relaunch, although the company will not be operating its own airline, high street travel agents or hotels.

Despite last-minute negotiations last year to stop itself sliding into insolvency, Thomas Cook collapsed into administration last year after failing to secure a GBP900mlm rescue deal for its tour operator and airline businesses, propped up by a GBP450mln cash injection from Fosun, then its largest shareholder, and a consortium of banks and other lenders.

The collapse left a large number of UK holidaymakers stranded abroad, forcing the British government to begin the largest ever peacetime repatriation of its citizens.

Thomas Cook’s re-emergence could not have come at a worse time for other players in the industry such as TUI AG (LON:TUI) and budget airlines easyJet PLC (LON:EZJ) and Ryanair Group Holdings PLC (LON:RYA), who have seen the pandemic cost them billions of pounds in lost revenues and refunds as international lockdown measures grounded flights and closed down holiday resorts across the world.

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