Thomas Cook Group and Fosun International Limited have signed a strategic partnership to build international cooperation across a number of business areas, with a view to accelerating Thomas Cook’s existing profitable growth strategy and creating the potential for new growth opportunities.
In the context of the strategic partnership, and with a view to becoming a long term shareholder in Thomas Cook, Fosun has agreed to invest £91.8m for the issue of 73,135,777 new Thomas Cook ordinary shares, representing 5% of the Company’s existing issued ordinary share capital, and intends over time to purchase further Thomas Cook shares on the open market with a view to increasing its shareholding in Thomas Cook up to approximately 10% of the enlarged issued ordinary share capital.
The Board of Thomas Cook revealed it believes that the partnership with Fosun will deliver benefits to Thomas Cook’s customers, staff and shareholders, including:
the introduction of a new long term strategic investor in the Company; the acceleration of Thomas Cook’s product strategy; collaboration opportunities with Fosun’s other travel and leisure businesses, including Club Med, a leading holiday resort company; and access to the fast-growing Chinese tourism market in partnership with a company with significant experience in Chinese leisure and tourism.
Assuming the plans under the partnership are implemented in 2015, the Board of Thomas Cook expects the proposed initiatives to deliver sufficient profit to be earnings accretive in the financial year ended 30 September 2016.
Frank Meysman, Chairman of Thomas Cook, said: “Building on our significant progress to date, we are delighted to announce our partnership with Fosun, which represents a major milestone in Thomas Cook’s 174-year history designed to bring significant benefits to Thomas Cook and its shareholders. Fosun’s strong track record of value creation and focus on international tourism makes it the ideal partner to strengthen our brands and products.”
Wang Qunbin, Executive Director and President of Fosun, said: “Our strategic partnership with Thomas Cook is another strong example of Fosun’s status as a trusted and experienced partner for leading international tourism businesses. Thomas Cook’s strong brand heritage and its leading position in the European travel market, together with Fosun’s extensive expertise and resources, will capitalise on the increasing demand for international leisure travel. The investment in Thomas Cook complements our other recent investments in the sector, providing opportunities for further value creation.”
Peter Fankhauser, Chief Executive Officer of Thomas Cook, said: “Our partnership with Fosun is aimed at accelerating our profitable growth strategy by allowing us to further develop our differentiated product in our core destination markets, to collaborate with Fosun’s other portfolio businesses particularly in France, and to access the world’s largest and fastest-growing tourism markets with an experienced local partner. We are looking forward to working closely with Fosun’s team to execute the commercial opportunities we are developing.” Qian Jiannong, President of Fosun’s Tourism & Commercial Group, said: “This partnership further demonstrates Fosun’s commitment to the tourism sector and represents another significant milestone following our investment in Club Med. We are excited about the prospect of developing our partnership with Thomas Cook.”