Thomas Cook looks at disposals as losses mount

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The Independent Online

Losses have trebled at Thomas Cook, the struggling travel icon that has been around since 1841.

In the three months to the end of December, the company made a loss of £91m, a result it blamed on "tougher trading conditions and rising fuel costs".

The figure compares with a loss of £37m for the same period a year earlier, a sign of how tough Thomas Cook is finding life.

Without a permanent chief executive since the ousting of Manny Fontenla-Novoa last year, the company has issued a string of profit warnings and seen its shares crash.

Yesterday, its interim chief executive, Sam Weihagen said a "full strategic review" of the business was "progressing well". One possibility is to sell off the Indian business, a separately listed outfit in which Thomas Cook has a 77 per cent stake. It is valued at £120m.

Thomas Cook has been affected by civil unrest in popular destinations such as Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, but claims bookings from UK customers are at least steady.

Nick Batram at Peel Hunt said: "Given some of the recent headlines, the update could have been worse. Unfortunately, there are clearly significant trading challenges outside the UK."

The shares edged up 0.75p to 13.75p.