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Continued from page 96


out a small carrot to existing shareholders who “may” have “the opportunity to participate in the recapitalisation”, but it warned: “Te recapitalisation is expected to result in existing shareholders’ interests . . . being significantly diluted.” Tis will depend on whether


Tomas Cook retains a stock market listing, which seems unlikely. Cook said: “Te current intention is to maintain the company’s listing. However, the recapitalisation may result in cancellation of the listing.” An industry source noted:


“Tose wiping out £1.6 billion in debt and bringing £900 million in will make the decisions.” Leaving the London Stock


Exchange (LSE) would remove Tomas Cook from regular review by investment analysts, which might be no bad thing. Te announcement did not


refer to Neset Kockar, head of Turkish holiday group Anex Tour, who acquired an 8% stake in Tomas Cook in July. Tomas Cook declined to comment, but an industry source described Kochar’s shareholding as “a sideshow” to the takeover. Te deal should be completed


by early October but remains subject to all sides reaching “a legally binding agreement”, to licence renewals, to regulatory approval and to approval by multiple stakeholders “including hedging counterparties, pension trustees and Fosun shareholders”. Te Financial Times noted


of Cook’s likely departure from the LSE: “Persistent returns are not the hallmarks of holiday companies. Tey make uncomfortable stock market investments. Fosun is welcome to Tomas Cook.”


Ettsa: New rules should ‘apply to all players’


Ian Taylor


Te European Technology and Travel Services Association (Etsa) welcomed new rules on online agency sales of accommodation which came into force this week. But the association, which


represents leading OTAs, metasearch sites and GDSs, demanded the rules be extended to “all players” including “search engines, big hotel groups and short-stay apartment rentals” and apply across the EU. Te UK Competition & Markets


Authority (CMA) rules were announced in February following a CMA investigation into “pressure selling, misleading discount claims, hidden charges” and distortion of search rankings. Te CMA announced then that


“some of the biggest online hotel booking sites”, including Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and Trivago, had given “formal commitments” to:


Ryanair stalwart Wilson becomes chief executive


Ryanair has appointed Eddie Wilson as chief executive of the main Dublin-based operation under group chief Michael O’Leary. Wilson has worked at


Ryanair for 22 years and has led negotiations with pilot and cabin crew unions as Ryanair chief people officer. O’Leary became group chief executive in a restructure six months


94 5 SEPTEMBER 2019


Some major online booking sites have agreed to new rules


O Make clear “how hotels are ranked, for example when search results [are] affected by commission”.


O End the “false impression of availability or popularity” of a hotel.


O Be “clearer about discounts and only promote deals available”.


O Display “all compulsory charges” in headline prices. Te CMA said all “online travel


agents, metasearch engines and hotel chains” would need to comply by September 1.


We asked the


CMA to ban rate- parity clauses in the UK, as they have been in France and Italy


Industry figures welcomed the


action but said it did not go far enough. Bed & Breakfast Association chairman David Weston said it failed to address a key complaint on ‘rate parity’ clauses, arguing: “Rate-parity clauses prevent accommodation owners discounting prices to their own customers on their own sites. “Te OTAs demand commission


– typically 15%-20% – and insist the B&B or hotel charge the commission- inclusive price to customers even when no commission is payable.” Weston said: “We asked the CMA


to ban rate-parity clauses in the UK, as they have been in France, Italy, Austria and Germany.”


ago following Ryanair’s launch of Laudamotion in Austria and rebrand of its operations in Poland as Buzz and in Malta as Malta Air. Ryanair only agreed to recognise


unions in late 2017 aſter being forced to cancel 20,000-plus flights through a lack of available pilots. Te airline has since recognised unions in most major source markets. However, it faces a fresh dispute


with pilots and crew over plans to close bases announced last month. Some UK pilots were due to strike this week and cabin crew in Spain plan walkouts throughout September.


Michael O’Leary


In a memo, O’Leary said Ryanair


faces “very difficult times” due to Brexit, the Boeing 737 Max aircraſt delays, and cuting/closing some bases this winter, and possibly the same number or more next summer.


travelweekly.co.uk


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