Thomas Cook reports wider first half losses

Kasmira Jefford
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STRICKEN tour operator Thomas Cook insisted it was on the path to recovery yesterday after it revealed widening losses in the first half of the year, sending shares tumbling seven per cent.

The debt-laden company posted an underlying pre-tax loss of £328.3m for the six months to the end of March, some 40 per cent wider than the loss it reported in the same period a year ago. Its revenues rose 2.4 per cent to £3.51bn.

Interim chief executive Sam Weihagen, who will be succeeded by Harriet Green in July, said the group’s turnaround plans were making good progress and that bookings had picked up in recent months, with year-on-year UK bookings up five per cent over the last four weeks.

He played down the impact of a Greek exit from the Eurozone, and said he expected to see a surge in booking to Greece if it were to happen as holidays to the Mediterranean nation would become better value for hard-pressed travellers.

The company has made a series of disposals in recent months to reduce its £890m debt. Earlier this week shareholders overwhelmingly backed the disposal of five Spanish hotels and the sale and leaseback of part of its aircraft fleet.