Thomas Cook “completely ring-fenced” from deepening Arcandor woes

Thomas Cook says it will remain “completely ring-fenced” from the current difficulties of German retail group Arcandor, which owns a 53 percent stake in the London-listed tour operator.

The chances of the German conglomerate gaining state aid appeared to dwindle after Berlin and Brussels warned yesterday that it did not meet a key condition of receiving help from Germany’s rescue fund.

Arcandor, which owns the Karstadt department store chain, has applied for a €200m credit line and €650m in state guarantees to ease the threat of insolvency when a loan is due for refinancing next week.

However Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, economics minister, said Arcandor had run into financial difficulties long before the financial crisis began, therefore missing the cut-off date for companies seeking loans from the €115bn bail-out fund set up by the government.

It is understood that Arcandor is under high pressure to find a solution because part of the loan consortium has declined to grant new financing. Although a group of the largest creditors would extend loans if the German government provides guarantees, several smaller creditors representing tens of millions of euros in financing have refused.

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A Thomas Cook spokesman said: “Arcandor is not our parent company and we are not associated with its financial business at all. Thomas Cook is an independent company listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are completely ring-fenced with totally different credit lines.”
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