Thomas Cook targets China with Fosun joint venture

Emma Haslett
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Thomas Cook said the deal will allow it to enter "the largest and fastest-growing tourism market in the world" (Source: Getty)

Thomas Cook, one of the UK's largest holiday companies, today announced plans to take on the Chinese travel market with Fosun International, the Chinese group which took a five per cent stake in Thomas Cook in March.

The pair said the venture, which will be launched under the Thomas Cook brand, will be 51 per cent owned by Fosun, with the other 49 per cent owned by the British company.

Between them, the two will invest 15m yuan (£1.56m) to "support the initial startup phase". The venture will be run by Reto Wilhelm, currently running Thomas Cook's Eastern and Western European businesses.

Thomas Cook's share price has been hit in recent weeks by a scandal over compensation for the deaths of two children in Corfu in 2006, with former chief executive Harriet Green dragged into the fray after she pledged to donate £3m of her bonus to charity.

However, shares in the company jumped in March when Fosun paid £91.8m for a stake, saying at the time it planed to double it to 10 per cent by buying more shares on the open market.

Fosun made its name in Europe with its acquisition of troubled French resorts owner Club med for €900m (£704m).

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