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Thomas Cook-MyTravel to merge

MyTravel and Thomas Cook have agreed a merger in a move which will put intense pressure on Thomson and First Choice and spark further European tour operator consolidation.

The parent company of the planned enlarged group will be named Thomas Cook Group, headquartered in the UK and listed in London.

The merged company would combine Thomas Cook AG’s 33 tour operating brands, 2,400 travel agencies, 66 aircraft and almost 20,000 staff with MyTravel’s 17 brands, 31 aircraft and 13,000 staff worldwide. 

MyTravel handled 5.5 million holidaymakers in 2005-06 and made a pre-tax profit of £44 million, while Thomas Cook AG is the second largest European travel group after TUI. Thomas Cook UK & Ireland made a profit of more than £87 million in the last financial year.

MyTravel and Thomas Cook believe that the annualised pre-tax cost benefits arising from a combination of the businesses will be at least £75 million a year once the full benefits of the merger are realised.

The deal is subject to clearance by relevant competition authorities and is conditional on the sale of Lufthansa’s 50% holding in Thomas Cook to German department store group KarstadtQuelle. The board of MyTravel is to unanimously recommend the merger

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