Concerns for Thomas Cook trips after share collapse

London (AFP) –


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 percent to just 14.26 pence in midday deals on the London stock market.

The news came one 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 £1.47 billion ($1.89 billion, 1.69 billion euros) in the six months to March 31, after customers also put off trips abroad last winter.

The loss after tax, after a writedown of £1.1 billion, compared with a net loss of £254 million 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.

- Company sees 'headwinds' -

In reaction to the company losses, Thomas Cook chief executive 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."