Thomas Cook is close to securing a £1.2 billion($1.90 billion) lifeline from its lenders to secure the future of the world’s oldest travel company which issued three profit warnings last year, the on Sunday Times reported.
The newspaper said lenders including the Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays were close to approving financing, however the deal could come at a punishing price for the struggling firm.
A spokeswoman for RBS confirmed that it was part of the lending group working to extend credit for Thomas Cook, but would not give any further details on the specifics of the deal.
A person at one of the other lenders said a restructuring could involve the banks taking an equity stake in the business, as the company and 17 lenders resolve how to give the travel firm more headroom. Talks are also likely to lead to the extension of the maturity of the loans.
Thomas Cook, which secured a 200 million pounds rescue package from lenders in November, reported an uplift in trading in March, due to a new advertising campaign and improvements to its website.
That followed a dire 2011 in which a sales slump culminated in the departure of veteran Chief Executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa in August and a funding crunch requiring the company to ask its banks for new financing.
The on Sunday Times said Thomas Cook would agree a deal to extend the maturity on its bank loans to 2015, with new conditions on the loans including higher interest and a one-off fee. The lenders will also have the right to take 5 per cent of the company’s shares.
Thomas Cook, founded 170 years ago, has been hit hard by tough trading conditions, especially in Britain where its core customer base of families with young children has been particularly affected by the economic downturn.