Thomas Cook Group winter losses have increased by almost £100 million.
The company revealed its seasonal loss for the six months to March had increased from £165.8 million to £262.7 million.
UK operations saw losses rise from £158.7 million to £173.6 million. The UK result includes seasonal losses relating to the Co-operative businesses of £14.9 million which were acquired in October.
The group today confirmed a £182.9 million aircraft sale and leaseback agreement and said summer bookings had improved in recent weeks.
Cook has agreed to the sale and lease back of 11 Boeing 757s with Guggenheim Aviation Partners and six 767s aircraft with Aircastle Advisor International.
The group has also agreed in principle to enter into sale and leaseback agreements for a further two 767s. This comes on the back of the long term financing deal struck last weekend.
Chief executive Sam Weihagen said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates the progress which we continue to make to strengthen the group’s financial position, with the aircraft disposals providing substantial additional liquidity.
“As expected, the first half seasonal losses have widened, however, summer bookings have improved in recent weeks.”
Overall UK summer bookings are only “slightly lower” than the prior year. Mainstream bookings are down 9%, ahead of capacity reductions of 13% and there is 19% less left to sell.
The average selling price was described as “stable” at plus 4% with independent and specialist businesses continuing to perform well, with bookings up 11%.
Looking forward, Cook said: “We continue to expect this year to be challenging given the economic backdrop and difficult trading environment.
“The performance of our North American and French businesses has been particularly poor and is a major contributor to the increased losses in the first half. Whilst our booking position for the second half is more encouraging, trading will be dependent on how well the group performs during the important lates market.”
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