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Thomas Cook Expands into French and Canadian Markets
Thomas Cook Expands into French and Canadian Markets

Thomas Cook is to ramp up its presence in France and Canada with two acquisitions. The travel group plans to acquire the French tour operator Jet Tours from Club Med in a 70m (£55m) deal that will make it France's third-largest tour operator, with a combined market share of about 10 per cent. It has also agreed to buy TriWest Travel Holdings, a Canadian independent travel wholesaler, for C$114m (£56m).

Manny Fontenla-Novoa, Thomas Cook's chief executive, said the two businesses would complement each other in France. "The beauty of this is that Thomas Cook has a strong high street presence with a smallish tour operating business. They have a strong tour operating business with a very small high street presence."

Paris-based Jet Tours is an upmarket tour operator that serves about 270,000 customers a year. Mr Fontenla-Novoa said: "They are very strong in medium and long-haul destinations."

For the year to 31 October 2007, Jet Tours generated sales of 313.7m. Mr Fontenla-Novoa said Jet Tours had net cash of 19.8m on its balance sheet, as of 31 October last year. He said there would be some redundancies, but declined to comment on any cost-saving figures. However, City sources said the group expect total cost savings of 10m, of which the majority will be delivered in its financial year to October 2009. Citigroup analysts said: "We believe Thomas Cook is making use of its strong balance sheet to expand [via bolt-ons] into regions where it can leverage its significant scale to cut costs and deliver synergies and growth."

Mr Fontenla-Novoa said the acquisition of TriWest Travel would deliver benefits from moving on to one technology platform for reservations and increased scale in contracts with airlines.

The Independent

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Tags:Thomas Cook, UK

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