Investors rescue Thomas Cook Nordic

STOCKHOLM, 1 November 2019: Thomas Cook Northern Europe that remained a profitable venture despite the demise of parent Thomas Cook Group last October, announced new owners at a press conference on Wednesday.

Norwegian hotel and property developer, Petter Stordalen, together with Altor and TDR Capital signed an agreement to acquire the Nordic region’s Thomas Cook Northern Europe.  The move secures Ving, Spies, Tjäreborg, Globetrotter and Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia having a trading history of over 60 years previously under the Ving Group.

The new owners were presented at a press conference in Stockholm 30 October led by Strawberry Group, controlled by entrepreneur Petter Stordalen together with Altor Fund V (Altor) and TDR Capital.

The move ensures a strong and long-term Nordic majority ownership of the Nordic business that employs 2,300 employees and will ensure its tour programmes continue to worldwide destinations without interruption.

In Thailand and Southeast Asia, Asian Trails headquartered in Bangkok will handle the group’s clients effective 1 November Asian Trails chairman Luzi Matzig told TTR Weekly who added the news was “good for everyone.”

In Stockholm, Ving Group CEO Magnus Wikner said: “ I am extremely pleased that Stordalen, Altor and TDR will become our new owners. Their long experience from the industry and financial strength will give us the long-term stability that we need as well as new opportunities to develop our offering in the future.

“The deal also means that the jobs for the more than 2,300 employees are secured. I would like to extend a big thank you to all our customers who have shown us tremendous support in recent weeks. Together with the new Nordic owners, we will continue to give our guests the best weeks of the year.

New owner, Strawberry Group’s Petter Stordalen added: “ I am incredibly proud that, together with two solid partners, we have reached a solution that allows us to secure the future of these companies.

“And not least, the 400,000 people who have already booked their Christmas, winter and summer holidays through Ving, Spies, Tjäreborg and Globetrotter, that now will have their holidays secured.”

He assured the travel trade market worldwide that with “ strong and long-term Nordic ownership, the Ving Group now has the conditions needed to do what they are best at; creating unique experiences for their guests and giving their customers the “best week of the year”.

Strawberry Group and Altor each acquire 40% of the company and TDR Capital, the remaining 20%.

The Ving group also includes its own hotel concepts such as Sunwing and Sunprime and has led the transition to online bookings in the Nordic travel market.

Through a financial restructuring, the new owners, together with other financiers, will secure about SEK 6 billion in liquidity and guarantees.

The operations will be transferred to a new group, where the transaction involves a combination of assets and shares in the companies from the former legal structure of the Nordic Group (known as Thomas Cook Nordic).

Technically,  some of the Swedish companies will now file for bankruptcy, to pave the way for operations to be taken over directly by the new group.

The acquisition includes all ongoing operations and has no impact on the current or upcoming trips of the Ving Group’s guests.

In practice, Ving Sweden (as well as Thomas Cook Northern Europe and Thomas Cook Nordic Holdings) will file for bankruptcy in order for all operations being taken over directly by the newly formed group, provided that the bid is accepted.

The group’s airline will change its name to Sun Class Airlines, a former brand name used by Wings before the formation of Thomas Cook Airlines.

All operations and employees are expected to be relocated to the new company this week. In September, the UK registered Thomas Cook Group, and owner of Wings collapsed, leading to thousands of travellers, mostly British stranded in Europe the Americas and some destinations in Asia such as Goa, India.