Holiday nightmare: big debts and bad luck push Thomas Cook to the brink

The tour operator’s banks are demanding £200m. Otherwise it will fail – leaving jobs at risk and customers stranded

For the second time in less than a decade, Thomas Cook is staring into the abyss, facing the prospect of its 178-year history coming to an ignominious close.

Just three weeks ago, the tour operator looked to have secured a £900m rescue package – half provided by Chinese tourism business Fosun, the rest by a mixture of banks and hedge funds. The debt-for-equity swap would wipe out of £1.7bn of loans, allowing the company to make its interest payments during the barren winter, when less cash comes in because bookings are low.

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