A Thomas Cook Airbus A321-200 aircraft takes off at the airport in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Picture: REUTERS/PAUL HANNA
A Thomas Cook Airbus A321-200 aircraft takes off at the airport in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Picture: REUTERS/PAUL HANNA

London — British holidaymakers on Sunday flooded troubled tour operator Thomas Cook with concerns about their trips  after its share price collapsed.

All eyes are on what will happen to the stock value of Britain’s oldest and largest independent travel company when the markets reopen on Monday.

Shares dived on Friday after Citigroup reportedly warned in a broker note that the stock was worthless. The company's share price fell 27.26% to just 14.26p in midday deals on the London stock market.

The news came a day after Thomas Cook revealed that first-half losses widened on a major writedown, which it blamed in part on Brexit uncertainty that has delayed summer holiday bookings.

The firm posted a net loss of £1.47n in the six months to March 31, after customers also put off trips abroad last winter. The loss after tax, after a writedown of £1.1bn, compared with a net loss of £254m in the first half of its 2017-2018 financial year.

Responding to customer concerns on its social media pages, the company said that all its holidays were financially protected through ATOL, the tour operators’ licencing scheme.

“This announcement has no impact on future holidays or flight-only bookings. All our holidays are fully ATOL-protected, so customers can continue to book with confidence,” the firm said on Twitter.

CE Peter Fankhauser

In reaction to the company losses, Thomas Cook CE Peter Fankhauser said the first half of the year had been characterised by “an uncertain consumer environment” across all its markets.

"Our current trading position reflects a slower pace of bookings, against a strong first half in 2018,” he said.

“As we look ahead to the remainder of the year, it’s clear that, notwithstanding our early decision to mitigate our exposure in the ‘lates’ market by reducing capacity, the continued competitive pressure resulting from consumer uncertainty is putting further pressure on margins.

“This, combined with higher fuel and hotel costs, is creating further headwinds to our progress over the remainder of the year.”

AFP