Thomas Cook shares soar after Lufthansa’s Condor bid

Shares in cash-strapped travel firm Thomas Cook jumped after Lufthansa confirmed it has made a bid for Condor, the UK Group’s German airline arm.

Thomas Cook, the UK’s oldest package holiday provider, has had an upturn in value over the past week following reports several parties have lined up bids for the group.

The travel business set a deadline of Tuesday for all potential bidders to declare their interest in the firm’s airline arm.

Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr said the German group has bid for Condor but added it had the option to extend its offer to Thomas Cook’s whole airline business.

“We decided yesterday in the meeting of the management board to bid for all of Condor with the option to be able to extend this (bid) to all Thomas Cook airlines,” Mr Spohr told reporters at Lufthansa’s AGM.

Lufthansa said it was unlikely a single buyer could acquire all Thomas Cook airlines due to antitrust regulations.

Shares in Thomas Cook jumped 10.6% to 23.95p in trading on Tuesday.

Thomas Cook has struggled recently as a fall in demand for package holidays and intense online competition resulted in a string of profit warnings.

Share value had fallen by around 80% over the past 12 months following a “disappointing” year during which it posted profit warnings in September and November 2018.

The company confirmed last week it was in discussions to secure up to £400 million in debt funding from its lenders to shore up its finances.

It has also been approached about a takeover of its tour operating unit, and the entire company, by several parties, according to Sky News reports.

The company has £1.4 billion of total debt and has hired consulting firm AlixPartners to help repair its balance sheet.

FTI Consulting is advising a group of lenders on their financial exposure to Thomas Cook.

In March, Thomas Cook revealed plans to close 21 high street stores, resulting in 320 job losses.