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Thomas Cook shares jump as it plans to open China hotels in joint venture with Fosun

The hotels are due to open in late 2020 and include the first Asian branch of the Casa Cook brand
Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook profits fell 23% last year as a prolonged summer heatwave hurt demand

Thomas Cook Group PLC (LON:TCG) shares advanced as the travel operator announced plans to open two new hotels in China in a joint venture with investment firm Fosun International.

Fosun, which has a 12% stake in Thomas Cook, will build the hotels while the travel firm's China arm will manage them.

READ: Thomas Cook shares bounce higher as talk of a possible fund-raise fades, vague Chinese interest chatter

The properties, due to open in late 2020, include the first Asian branch of the Casa Cook brand.

The two companies recently signed memorandums of understanding for the development of Casa Cook and Thomas Cook Sunwing family resort in one of Fosun's developments in Lijian, southwestern China, and Taicang, near Shanghai.

Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser said: “By partnering with Fosun to develop two flagship new hotels that will be managed through our joint venture, we’re making the most of our relationship to give Chinese customers a holiday experience that’s very different to what’s on offer from the competition.

"It’s especially pleasing to be realising our long-held ambition to work with Fosun to launch own-brand hotels, which form the core of our group strategy for profitable growth, here in China.”

Shares in Thomas Cook rose 3.5% to 38p in afternoon trading.

Last month, there were vague rumours of possible Chinese interest in Thomas Cook as the group struggles under a massive debt pile and tries to turn around the business after a disappointing 2018 performance.

Some market commentators said Fosun chairman and Chinese billionaire, Guo Guangchang, could be looking closely at the travel company’s situation.  

Earlier this year, Fosun won approval from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to spin off its tourism and hotels unit that includes French travel firm Club Med as it seeks to expand its travel business globally.

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