Thomas Cook is planning to sell its airline business

Holiday company Thomas Cook is exploring options to potentially sell its airline business amid concerns over the company’s future. The travel giant said this morning that it will conduct a strategic review of the airline arm, which will look at “all options to enhance value to shareholders”.

The decision comes after the firm’s shares were hammered at the end of last year following its third profit warning of 2018 and stinging full-year losses.

Thomas Cook has been stung by charges related to flight disruptions, write downs on money owed by hotels and transformation costs. It was also hit by delayed demand for its tour holidays due to the summer heatwave.

“We are today announcing a strategic review of our group airline. We are at an early stage in this review process which will consider all options to enhance value to shareholders and intensify our strategic focus. We will provide an update on this process in due course.”

Its airline, which fared much better last year than the tour operator business, consists of Germany’s Condor, and British, Scandinavian and Spanish divisions.

Fankhauser said the review was at an early stage and would include all options. He told Thomas Cook’s annual general meeting that the review was likely to take several months.

Credit Suisse said easyJet, Lufthansa, IAG and Ryanair could be interested in different parts of the airline business, which it said could be worth 1.8 billion to 3.2 billion pounds. Citi valued the airline at 630 million pounds.

Analysts said there might not be many bidders to take the whole airline in one go, given turmoil in the industry.

Source: Reuters