Thomas Cook Group today agreed to sell Gold Medal to Dubai-based Dnata for £45 million.

Gold Medal will continue as the exclusive supplier of long-haul scheduled flights to Cook businesses in the UK under a long-term commercial agreement.

The sale of Gold Medal will result in a loss of £34 million, principally arising from the write-off of goodwill recognised at the time of acquisition in 2009, Cook admitted.

Gold Medal business is based in Preston and employs 470 staff, all  who are expected to remain with the business on completion of the transaction.

The sale of Gold Medal involves the disposal of the two trading companies, Gold Medal Travel Group and Airline Network.

Their combined net profit was £6 million in the year to last September.

Members of Gold Medal’s core management team include managing director Steve Barrass, finance director Paul Smith, marketing product and commercial director Robin Parry, IT director Simon Hulme and operations director Lisa Smith.

Cook group CEO Harriet Green said: “This latest transaction represents another important step in the transformation of our UK business, consistent with our strategy of focusing on our core brands and products, whilst offering our customers choice and flexibility.

“It brings the total amount generated by our divestitures programme to £125 million, thereby achieving our previously communicated target of £100 million – £150 million in divestitures by the end of FY15, and thus demonstrating that we continue to deliver on our commitments, in this case, 18 months prior to our target date.”

She added: “We believe that this latest strategic partnership with Gold Medal and Dnata will further enhance the wide range of flexible options we are able to offer our customers.

“Extending our portfolio of strategic partnerships in this way is beneficial for all of our stakeholders and we look forward to working more closely with Dnata in the future and wish the new venture continued success.”

Iain Andrew, divisional senior vice president of Dnata’s travel business, said: “Dnata’s growth strategy aligns well with Gold Medal Travel Group – its comprehensive travel services complement Dnata’s established international travel offering, and will further enhance the proposition we offer our customers be it to trade, corporates or individuals.

“Gold Medal Travel Group is a successful company, with strong products supported by an excellent management team, and a compelling business strategy.”

Gold Medal managing director Steve Barrass said: “This is a significant strategic partnership between two global brands, and will accelerate the growth trajectories of both Gold Medal Travel Group and Dnata.

“Post this transaction, Gold Medal Travel Group will continue as the exclusive provider of scheduled air travel and car rental products to Thomas Cook UK and we look forward to combining forces with Dnata to expand our offerings to our customers.”