LONDON, March 4 British travel group Thomas Cook
said it had decided not to sell its French business and
would instead kick off a restructuring programme to turn the
under-performing unit around.
The world's oldest travel group on Monday said following a
review into its French unit it would retain the business and
"implement a specific transformation programme for France to
Shares in Thomas Cook, which have risen 83 percent so far
this year, were down 4 percent at 84.25 pence, valuing the group
at around 800 million pounds.
The French business, which includes the Aquatour, Jet tours
and Kuoni tour operators, has been hit by domestic economic
uncertainty and political unrest affecting popular
French-speaking destinations such as Morocco and Tunisia.
The 172-year-old group had also struggled over the last two
years with a slump in sales leading to a string of profit
warnings, forcing it to renegotiate bank loans and make
disposals to cut debt.
Since travel industry outsider Harriet Green took over as CEO
last May, the company has seen a steady improvement in its
finances following a series of disposals to slash its debt,
including the sale of its Indian business and several Spanish
Thomas Cook said its French unit would now come under the
direct responsibility of its Continental European segment led by
managing director Reto Wilhelm who will take responsibility for
the French business from April 1.
Thomas Cook has around 1500 employees in France and 520