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Berenberg gives a lift to Thomas Cook on hopes for possible airlines sale

The German broker said, while the risk of failure remains high, the potential sale of the airline could yet mean that the company can carry on its other business
Airplane
Thomas Cook announced plans to offload its airline business in February following a strategic review

Berenberg has upped its stance for under pressure holidays firm Thomas Cook Group PLC (LON:TCG) to ‘hold’ from ‘sell’, citing the benefits of a possible sale of its airline operations.

The German broker said, while the risk of failure remains high, the potential sale of the airline could yet mean that the company can carry on its other business.

READ: Thomas Cook reassures customers and suppliers about financial health after profit warning

In a note to clients, Berenberg’s analysts pointed out: "The deterioration in TCG's financial position leaves the company looking for a white knight to pay a fairly punchy multiple for the airline.”

But, they added, with the prospect the firm would get a rights issue away remote, restructuring of the business and a debt-to-equity swap remain the best course of action.

Thomas Cook announced plans to offload its airline business in February following a strategic review.

Lufthansa AG has said it would make an offer for the travel firm’s German airline Condor with an option to buy the UK firm’s remaining airlines, with other bidders also waiting in the wings for parts of the airlines business.

Last week, Thomas Cook was forced to reassure worried consumers and suppliers about its financial health after issuing a profit warning the previous week.

The tour operator told customers who had contacted them that the business was not in trouble and that all of its holidays were protected by UK holiday protection scheme, Atol.

The company also held talks with a range of suppliers to reassure them that it had plenty of resources to cover the summer holiday season.

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