Thomas Cook is in advanced talks to acquire businesses in China and Russia as it expands into emerging markets.
Manny Fontenla-Novoa, chief executive, said a deal in Russia was now “very close” that after several months of searching for the right partners. He also said he hoped to agree a purchase in China in the first quarter of 2010.
The Thomas Cook chief would not identify the two targets but said that both deals would involve Thomas Cook taking a majority share with the current owners kept under earn-out agreement lasting two or three years.
He said he was particularly excited by the offering holiday packages to Russians, who were flocking to Turkey and Egypt - two of the group’s top destinations.
Fontenla-Novoa comments came as he revealed Thomas Cook’s full-year trading update.
It said that the UK market had effectively sold out, with bookings down 10 per cent, in line with the cut in capacity.