September 24, 2019 / 2:09 PM / 3 months ago

Thomas Cook's Nordic business to carry on, looking for buyer

OSLO (Reuters) - Thomas Cook’s TCG.L Nordic business said on Tuesday it would continue to operate as it is a separate legal entity from its London-listed parent, which collapsed on Monday, and it was looking for new owners.

Passengers board a Thomas Cook airplane at the Heraklion airport on the island of Crete, Greece September 24, 2019 REUTERS/Stefanos Rapanis

The Nordic arm of Thomas Cook said on Monday all its flights would resume on Tuesday, although some disruptions were reported.

“Since we are an independent and profitable part of the business, we are already able to continue our operations with support from our banks, lenders and guarantors,” Magnus Wikner, managing director of Thomas Cook’s Nordic business, said.

Hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers were stranded by the collapse of the world’s oldest travel firm, sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history.

The company’s British fleet was grounded immediately after the parent group became insolvent to comply with operating license requirements.

The British government said issues about the ownership and leasing arrangements of the aircraft meant it was simpler to use alternatives to fly people home.

In the Nordics, close to 35,000 holidaymakers were traveling at the time of Thomas Cook’s announcement, which resulted in the cancellation of flights on Monday.

Thomas Cook’s Nordic business consists of two legal entities, Thomas Cook Northern Europe and Thomas Cook Scandinavian Airlines, and is also known as Ving Group.

The business operates under several brands: Ving in Norway, Spies in Denmark, Tjäreborg in Finland, as well as Ving and Globetrotter in Sweden.

The liquidation of Thomas Cook, which marks the end of a British company that started in 1841 running local rail excursions and grew to pioneer the family package holiday, has sent shockwaves across the global tourism industry.

In Spain, the country’s Acting Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto told reporters that the ministry has been in touch with German and Swedish authorities to ensure Thomas Cook subsidiaries continue to operate at least for the winter season.

And it has left questions over which parts of the Thomas Cook empire can be salvaged from the wreckage, including the Nordic business.

“Several potential buyers have taken an interest in acquiring the Nordic business,” Ving Norway spokeswoman Siri Roehr-Staff said.

“The talks on a sale are administered from London by those who are in charge of liquidating the Thomas Cook Group.”

Alix Partners is helping Britain’s Official Receiver liquidate the company’s tour business and airline.

Although the head of Spies told Danish public broadcaster DR that airline licenses had been moved from Britain to the Nordic group, enabling to keep planes in the air, some disruption was reported on Tuesday.

Susanna Tainio and Heikki Ikonen, a Finnish couple stranded in Parga, Greece, told Finnish broadcaster YLE they did not know when they might get home.

“We have not been given any information on when we will know more,” Tainio told YLE, adding they did not know whether they could stay another night in their hotel room.

Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Terje Solsvik in Oslo, Anne Kauranen in Helsinki, Andreas Mortensen in Copenhagen and Paul Sandle in London; Editing by Alexander Smith

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