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British travel giant Thomas Cook faces collapse



Thomas Cook's 1

78-year existence was hung by a thread Sunday after the iconic British travel company struggled to find further private investment and is now dependent on an unlikely government bailout.

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The operator said on Friday that it needed £ 200 million ($ 250 million) – in addition to the £ 900 million last month's rescue agreement secured – or otherwise faces administration, which can leave thousands of holidaymakers stranded and demand Britain's greatest return since World War II.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP on Saturday that the company had not found the £ 200 million from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened. [19659009] But it is unlikely that ministers will step in because of concerns about the long-term viability of the pioneering operator, the Times reported on Saturday, leaving it on the brink of collapse and stranding up to 150,000 UK holidaymakers.

"We will know tomorrow (Sunday) whether agreement will be reached," the source told AFP.

State Sen. Brandon Lewis told Sky News on Sunday that it would be "inappropriate" for him to comment on the talks, but said he hoped "they came to a positive conclusion."

The company's shareholders and creditors would meet from 9 am on Sunday, with a board meeting to be held in the afternoon.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association, which represents workers in the company, asked the government to save the company.

"It is up to the government to act if necessary and save this iconic cornerstone of the British main street and the thousands of jobs that come with it," said TSSA Secretary General Manuel Cortes.

"The company must be saved no matter what."

Two years ago, Monarch Airlines collapsed encouraging the British government to recover 110,000 stranded passengers, which cost taxpayers around £ 60 million to hire aircraft.

The government at that time described it as Britain's "greatest peacetime repatriation ever."

– Job threatened –

Thousands of workers could also lose their jobs, and the company employed around 22,000 employees worldwide, including 9,000 in the UK.

Chinese peer Fosun, already the largest shareholder of Thomas Cook, agreed last month to raise £ 450 million into

In return, the Hong Kong-listed conglomerate bought a 75 percent stake in Thomas Cook's tour operation division and 25 percent of the airline.

Thomas Cook in May revealed that losses in the first half extended to a larger write-down, partly caused by Brexit uncertainty that delayed summer holiday reservations. The group, which has around 600 stores across the UK, has also come under pressure from fierce online competition.

Cabinet maker Thomas Cook created the travel company in 1841 to transport temperance trailers by train between British cities.

It soon began to arrange overseas travel, as the first operator to take British travelers on escorted visits to Europe in 1855, to the United States in 1866 and on a world tour in 1872.

The company was also a pioneer in introducing "circular note" "- products that would later become travelers' checks.


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