The stock market valuation of Thomas Cook at the height of the group’s crisis in 2011-2012 was “quite shocking”, chief executive Harriet Green said today.
Green took over Thomas Cook last July after the group share price fell below 12p at one point, down from £2.70 in early 2009 when the company was in the FTSE 100.
She said: “This company was not well when I joined. The share price was around 14.5p.”
Cook’s shares were priced back above £1.13 today, with the group’s market capitalisation at £916 million. Green said: “We have made extraordinary progress.”
However, she said: “For a £9.5-billion business to hit a wall for the sake of £100-million credit it never used was quite shocking.
“One of the vagaries of the [stock] market is that if you shock a market it tends to treat you roughly.”
The collapse of the company’s share price followed a succession of profit warnings through 2010 and 2011, and left the group struggling to meet its financial obligations.
Green said: “Some of what we are seeing now is the market regaining confidence in Thomas Cook.”
Yesterday Green outlined a strategy for Cook to return to growth. Today she suggested the City may have lost sight of some of the group’s underlying strengths.
She said: “One analyst said ‘We’ve heard all this before.’ [But] we are sharing a lot of what is already fantastic in this business.
“What you are seeing is a result of the fact that Cook is not going bust, that we are number one or two in all our major markets and that the company makes good margins.”
Green added: “The improved market cap gives us options. There is a lot more to come.”
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