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Thomas Cook shareholders back disposals, say sources

The travel operator needs to sell assets to shore up its finances

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Investors in embattled travel agent Thomas Cook on Tuesday overwhelmingly supported plans to sell Spanish assets and the sale and leaseback of some of its aircraft, sources told Reuters.

Sources said 99.9 percent of the proxy votes, which account for virtually all of the votes cast, were in favour of the planned disposal of five Spanish hotels and the sale and leaseback of part of its aircraft fleet.

The vote at an investor meeting in London concerned a £183 million sale and leaseback deal with Guggenheim Aviation Partners for 19 aircraft and the sale of its Spanish hotel chain Hotels y Clubs De Vacaciones to Grupo Iberostar for around £60 million.

The 171-year-old company came close to folding last year after dire trading led to a string of profit warnings and a 2010/11 loss of £398 million. However, earlier this month the company secured a three-year funding lifeline worth £1.4 billion - its third refinancing in a year.

Thomas Cook had said Tuesday's vote was crucial to its future because the terms of the loans state that it must pay down at least £100 million in 2013 and 2014.

Thomas Cook last week named travel industry outsider Harriet Green from British electrical components distributor Premier Farnell as its new chief executive.

The company, which has already revealed losses of £263 million for the winter season, is due to publish first-half results on Thursday. It has been hit by the civil unrest in North Africa and the economic downturn in Britain.


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