New boss steers Thomas Cook to calmer waters
After a tumultuous year, the travel agent's new boss is soothing investors
Sunday 25 November 2012
Thomas Cook's new chief executive, Harriet Green, one of the few remaining female bosses at a major listed company, will this week try to persuade investors that the holiday group has a secure future.
A rocky year that saw the 171-year-old group dice with death is likely to continue with more write-downs and write-offs set to see the travel agent report another set of thumping losses at its full-year results on Wednesday.
But its situation no longer seems terminal. Some investors think the group should use a recent bounce in its share price to tap the market for more funding to give it breathing space in the near future.
Signs of optimism should come from around £155m of operating profit and some tough talk from Ms Green, already making waves as a bright spark willing to take the radical action needed to save the business.
While City analysts think Ms Green will wait until next year to unveil the full extent of what will be a major shake-up, she is expected this week to signal a "new dawn" at a business that endured three profit warnings last year.
One of these saw its shares lose 70 per cent in a single day's trading. Investec said in a note to clients: "Although detailed figures on cost efficiencies and revenue upside targets may have to wait until spring 2013, we hope that the outlook statement and analyst presentation will serve as a platform from which a brighter, more profitable future can be effectively communicated."
Last week, Ms Green told the Confederation of British Industry conference that she had been struck by the power of the Thomas Cook brand. She said innovation and differentiation, having the right business infrastructure in the UK and an obsession with customers were the driving mantras.
On the last point, Green said "all roads lead to technology", an admission that Thomas Cook had fallen behind rivals in its internet offering.
Analysts at Panmure Gordon said they think the group "should use the recent share price strength to raise additional equity". Some say it needs another £200m to be safe. It has already had to raise many millions from its banks to survive.
Thomas Cook shares closed at 24p on Friday, up 4.35 per cent on the start of day's trading. This values the business at around £200m and is up on lows of well under 15p a share earlier this year.
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
Nepal earthquake: The race is on to help thousands trapped under rubble around Kathmandu, while remote villages face a long wait for help
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...