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News Release

Sale of interest in NATS
RNS Number : 3462T
Thomas Cook Group PLC
19 November 2013

19 November 2013

further progress on the Transformation

£38million cash proceeds from sale of interests in The Airline Group, shareholder in UK air traffic controller NATS


"I am delighted to report yet more progress in our transformation of Thomas Cook.  Delivering on our previously announced commitment to realise value from non-core businesses, this sale represents an important milestone in our disposal and debt reduction plans, contributing £38 million towards our target to generate between £100 million and £150 million in gross proceeds by FY15.  It also enables us to intensify our business focus on the further delivery of our profitable growth strategy, which we look forward to sharing in more detail in our results announcement on 28 November."

 Harriet Green, Group Chief Executive

Thomas Cook Group plc announces today that it has agreed to sell 91.5% of its shareholding and loan note interests in The Airline Group Limited, which is a 41.9% shareholder in NATS Holdings Limited, to Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited, acting as sole corporate trustee of Universities Superannuation Scheme ("USS"). 

Following the transaction, Thomas Cook Group plc will retain the balance of its stake in The Airline Group Limited. The cash consideration is approximately £38 million, which will be used to further reduce the Group's debt.

The transaction is expected to complete during the first quarter of calendar year 2014. Completion is subject to clearance from the European Commission.


Investors & analysts

Geoffrey Pelham-Lane, Thomas Cook Group

+44 (0) 20 7557 6414


Jenny Peters, Thomas Cook Group

+44 (0) 7568 105144

Andrew Lorenz, FTI Consulting

+44 (0) 7775 641807


          Notes to Editors


TUI Travel PLC, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited have also agreed to sell the majority of their stakes in The Airline Group Limited on the same terms and at the same time as Thomas Cook Group plc.  The combined shareholding being sold to USS represents a non-controlling stake of 49.9%, with each seller retaining a small proportion of their holding.


As at 30 September 2013, Thomas Cook Group plc held a 13.6% interest in the shares and a 13.9% interest in the loan notes issued by The Airline Group Limited.  Post transaction, these interests will reduce to 1.2% of the shares and 1.2% of the loan notes issued by The Airline Group Limited.


British Airways PLC, easyJet Airline Company Limited and Monarch Airlines Retirement Benefit Plan Limited will retain all of their share and loan note interests in The Airline Group Limited.


Thomas Cook Group plc has revalued the carrying value of its investment in The Airline Group Limited as at 30 September 2013 to reflect the estimated sale proceeds.


Thomas Cook Group plc

Thomas Cook Group plc is one of the world's leading leisure travel groups with sales of £9.5 billion and 23 million customers in the year ended 30 September 2012.  Thomas Cook is supported by c.27,000 employees and operates from 19 countries; it is number one or two in all its core markets. Thomas Cook Group plc's shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange (TCG).

The Airline Group Limited

The Airline Group Limited is a 41.9% shareholder in NATS Holdings Limited, the holding company for NATS, which is a world leader in the provision of air traffic management, including ensuring the safety of aircraft flying in UK airspace and over the eastern North Atlantic.  The Airline Group Limited is currently owned by seven shareholders, as identified in notes 1 and 3 above.


Universities Superannuation Scheme was established in 1975 as the principal defined benefit pension scheme for universities and other higher education institutions in the UK.  It has over 300,000 scheme members across nearly 400 institutions and is one of the largest pension schemes in the UK, with total fund assets of approximately £40 billion.

This information is provided by RNS
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