Thomas Cook to book £34m loss on £45m Gold Medal sale

HOLIDAY company Thomas Cook Group has announced a second significant North West disposal in under a week, as it sold Preston-based tour operator Gold Medal for £45m.

The company was acquired from its founder for up to £87m in late 2008 and Thomas Cook will book a £34m loss on the sale as a result of the write-off of goodwill.

All 470-staff at the business are expected to be retained, Thomas Cook said.

The new owner of Gold Medal, which specialised in long-haul scheduled flights, hotels and car hire, is Dubai-basd dnata, which is part of the Emirates Group. The transaction is expected to complete on or about February 27.

Thomas Cook, which last week sold Chester-based high-end tour operator Elegant Resorts , also to a Middle East buyer, said that after completion Gold Medal would continue as the exclusive supplier of long-haul scheduled flights to the Thomas Cook businesses in the UK under the terms of a long-term commercial agreement.

Chief executive Harriet Green said: “”This latest transaction represents another important step in the transformation of our UK business, consistent with our strategy of focusing on our core brands and products, whilst offering our customers choice and flexibility.

“It brings the total amount generated by our divestitures programme to £125m, thereby achieving our previously communicated target of £100m – £150m in divestitures by the end of FY15, and thus demonstrating that we continue to deliver on our commitments, in this case, 18 months prior to our target date.

“We believe that this latest strategic partnership with Gold Medal and dnata will further enhance the wide range of flexible options we are able to offer our customers.

“Extending our portfolio of strategic partnerships in this way is beneficial for all of our stakeholders and we look forward to working more closely with dnata in the future and wish the new venture continued success.”

Thomas Cook said the proceeds from the sale of Gold Medal would go towards reducing “certain financing commitments” under its senior bank facilities.

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