Travelex eyes Thomas Cook's Indian business

Struggling holiday company could raise more than £100m from stake in foreign exchange

Travelex has emerged as a leading contender to buy Thomas Cook's Indian foreign exchange business, which was put up for sale last week.

The private equity-backed firm is thought to have been one of a handful of businesses to approach Thomas Cook about the asset which could raise more than £100m.

The holiday company has seen trading dive because of unrest in popular destinations such as Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. It has already sold its Spanish hotel chain to raise cash. Losses trebled in the last quarter to £91m, a result it blamed on "tougher trading conditions and rising fuel costs".

It has been without a permanent chief executive since Manny Fontenla-Novoa was ousted last year after a string of profit warnings that saw its shares crash.

The Indian business is a separately listed outfit in which Thomas Cook has a 77 per cent stake. It traces its activity in the country back to 1881.

Today it operates in 70 Indian cities and employs more than 2,700 in foreign exchange and travel services.

The travel firm Cox & King's and the Japan Tourism Bureau are also thought to be interested bidding for the business.

Travelex is on the prowl for acquisitions after selling two divisions that cleared its debts. The company, set up from a single currency outlet in central London in 1976, reaches into 100 countries and 20,000 locations, and it is about to open in Malaysia and Qatar.

The founder, Lloyd Dorfman, stepped back to become chairman in 2005 when the private equity group Apax bought control of the business, but he retains a 28 per cent stake.

Travelex decided last year to focus on its retail business. It collected £290m from Mastercard for its operation that sells prepaid cash cards. Another £606m was poured into the coffers when Western Union acquired its business payments arm.

Travelex's remaining retail arm has carried on growing despite consumer belt-tightening and civil disturbances across North Africa and the Middle East.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Client Services Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor