CCI gives nod to Thomas Cook to acquire Kuoni
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) gave its nod to India's leading travel service provider for its acquisition of Kuoni Travel India. Thomas Cook's shares made a 2% jump to Rs. 204 on BSE after the announcement. Thomas Cook's Managing Director Madhavan Menon welcomed this decision and said, "With the approval of CCI, we aim at swift disclosure of the acquisition of Kuoni Travel."
Thomas Cook Group was formed by the merger of Thomas Cook AG and My Travel Group plc on 19 June 2007. At the time of the merger, 52% of the shares were held by Arcandor and 48% with MyTravel Group. The group owned airline charters and tour operators in England, Belgium and Scandinavia. It also owned the booking website Hotels4u and scheduled airline Condor.
On 22 November 2011, Thomas Cook reached its near collapse with its shares falling by as much as 70pc. This happened after the European tour operator declared that it needed more capital from its banks. Cook's downward spiral began with CEO Fontenla's resignation. In the beginning of 2011, its shares plunged a total of 93pc reducing its worth to a tawdry £120 million.
In the summer of 2013, Thomas Cook sold 85% of its holiday packages, compared with 76% from the previous year. Its bookings at exclusive hotels also saw a huge growth spurt going up by 38%. However, this profitability came with a price; the company had to fire 2,500 employees in 2013 i.e. 15% of its workforce. The company also closed almost 200 travel agencies.
Fosun International, the Chinese conglomerate bought a 5% stake in the British Thomas Cook travel group. This further deepened Fosun's foray into Europe's tourism sector after buying Club Med, the French holiday operator. Fosun paid £91.9 million ($140.12 million) for this deal to follow through. Fosun further hoped to double its holding in Thomas Cook to 10% in the upcoming months.
Thomas Cook India acquired Luxe Asia, a Sri Lanka based destination management firm for an undisclosed sum. The buyout was done through Thomas Cook Lanka Pvt Ltd., its wholly-owned subsidiary. Luxe Asia will function as an independent entity post the acquisition, confirmed Thomas Cook India. Cook said that with this deal it hoped to establish its global destination management process.
Thomas Cook's success can be guaged from the fact that it reported a standalone revenue of Rs.500 crore and net profit of Rs.33 crore in FY 14-15.
Fairfax's Thomas Cook acquired Kuoni Group's (the Swiss tour operator) business in India and Hong Kong. The Rs.535 crore deal aimed at scaling up the "inbound tour business and expand in foreign markets." Travel industry sources claimed that post this deal Thomas Cook would become the "largest tour operator in both inbound and outbound segments".