StockMarketWire.com - Thomas Cook expected lower earnings in the second half due to "continued competitive pressure" from consumer uncertainty after it reported an increased loss in underlying earnings amid a "challenging" first half, adding that it was currently assessing multiple bids received for its airline business.

The company said it had also agreed a new £300m bank financing facility to provide additional liquidity for the Winter season.

Consumer uncertainty was putting further pressure on company margins, the company said.

"This combined with higher fuel and hotel costs, is creating further headwinds to our progress over the remainder of the year," added Fankhauser.

As a result, it expected underlying earnings in the second half to be behind the same period in 2018.

The travel group said it had received "multiple bids" for the whole, and parts, of its airline and would provide an update "in due course".

Thomas Cook reported that its underlying EBIT loss had increased by £65m to £245m in the six months to 31 March 2019 on a like-for-like basis amid lower demand across its tour operator businesses and an uncertain consumer environment across all its markets. Reducing capacity across its businesses had only partially mitigated this risk, the company said.

"The prolonged heatwave last summer and high prices in the Canaries reduced customer demand for winter sun, particularly in the Nordic region, while there is now little doubt that the Brexit process has led many UK customers to delay their holiday plans for this summer," said Chief Executive Peter Fankhauser.

In order to provide additional liquidity for the Winter 2019/20 season, Thomas Cook said it had agreed a a new £300m secured bank financing facility with its lending banks. The new facility would sit alongside the existing revolving credit facility and bonding facility totalling £875m, which matures in November 2022.

The new facility would be available from 1 October 2019 and mature on 30 June 2020. Its availability was principally dependent on progress in executing the strategic review of the Group Airline, the firm said.



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