Thomas Cook's Troubles Continue


LONDON -- Thomas Cook Group (ISE: TCG.L) reported a quarterly loss this morning, with revenue for the three months ended June 30 down 6% to 2,294.8 million pounds. After closing at 16.75 pence yesterday, shares in the company fell as low as 16 pence this morning, before briefly rebounding up to 16.32 pence at the time of writing.

The struggling travel group's recent plight was underlined with the trading statement announcing that underlying operating loss for the quarter was 26.5 million pounds, compared to a profit of 20.1 million pounds in 2011. However, the poor seasonal weather was blamed, as well as a later booking pattern, and as such the company is starting to see strong summer sales pick up.

The company has sought to increase liquidity by completing the disposal of HCV Hotels, which generated proceeds of some 58 million pounds, as well as the aircraft sale and leaseback, which will generate proceeds of around 189 million pounds.

Strategies such as this offer shareholders a glimmer of light, as they offers assurances that the company is not just being run into the ground. Indeed, a change of management can herald a new dawn, and Harriet Green joined on July 30 as group chief executive, with Michael Healy appointed group chief financial officer on July 1.

Commenting, Green said: "My initial focus is to review our businesses, quickly establish priorities and develop a clear plan to reinvigorate Thomas Cook. The Group has been through a difficult period, but much has been achieved which has strengthened the balance sheet and improved liquidity."

If the change in management is successful, and the turnaround plan remains on track, then the shares could end up being somewhat of a bargain at their current price. However, the travel group's troubles have been well-documented, and as such they are likely to be considered only as a falling knife for ambitious investors.

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Sam does not own shares in Thomas Cook. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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