Britain's Thomas Cook to buy controlling stake in Indian arm
Mumbai: In a significant development in the travel industry, the Thomas Cook Group Plc of Britain is set to acquire controlling stake in Thomas Cook India Ltd (TCIL) and other related businesses. It will acquire between 61.8 percent and 74.9 percent of TCIL's share capital, worth about around 173-214 million euro ($266-320 million), giving Thomas Cook control of the TCIL. According to a Thomas Cook announcement here Friday, apart from this, the British firm has also acquired complete stake of Thomas Cook-branded businesses in Egypt and licences for the company's brand in 15 Middle East countries. Thomas Cook is also buying out the businesses from Dubai Financial Group (DFG) Llc for a cash consideration of between 208 million and 249 million euro. "By these acquisitions, Thomas Cook now has control of its brand worldwide and make it a leader in India, which is one of the fastest growing travel markets," said the group's chief executive Manny Fontenta-Novoa. "This is a proud moment for Thomas Cook India Ltd as we come back under the auspices of the parent brand," said TCIL chairman Udayan Bose. "We are very pleased to return TCIL to its parent organisation to be part of the global Thomas Cook family. We believe we have added strength and value to the business and are very pleased with the returns we have made on our investment," said DFG CEO Sayanta Basu. TCIL currently has around 2,500 employees in its retail network of 180 branches spread across 40 Indian cities. Half of TCIL's gross revenues come from foreign exchange of overseas tourists, in which it has an approximate market share of 50 percent, making it the largest operator in the country, the company said. The remaining revenue comes from the domestic travel business in which it currently ranks second in the country, according to TCIL.