Thomas Cook increases its stake in Russian tour operator Intourist to 100%

Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook

Information on the deal was confirmed by the press service of the tour operator. Now 100% of ITC Travel Investments belong to the British company.

Foreign economic joint-stock company (FEJSC) “Intourist” belonged to AFK “System”; “System” owned 66% of the company through ITC Travel Investments – joint venture (JV) with British tour operator Thomas Cook (owned by Thomas Cook Airlines).

“The deal is a confirmation of Thomas Cook Group’s confidence in the development of potential of the Russian tourism market and shows satisfaction with the results of the subsidiary’s activities in Russia,” said representative of AFK System. It is “another step to systematically strengthen the position of one of the leaders of world tourism” in the Russian market.

The consolidation of Thomas Cook may be associated with the plans of Intourist to create its own airline in Russia. The fact that the tour operator “Intourist” is considering the creation of its own air carrier, it became known in 2017 year.

The process will be phased, said then CEO Victor Topolkaraev: first, the company will acquire aircrafts under the fleet of one of the existing airlines, and only then will think about creating “its own carrier”.

In February 2018, it was reported that the company plans to purchase at least six aircraft of two types, including wide-body aircraft.

A joint venture between Intourist and Thomas Cook was founded in 2011. Intourist transferred its tour operator and retail business to the joint venture. Thus, it includes the tour operator national travel company (NTC) “Intourist” and a network of travel agencies “Intourist Travel Stores”.

Initially, the parties owned 49.9% and 50.1% of the firm, respectively. However,  when creating the joint venture, Thomas Cook was assigned the option to buy  a share of about a quarter of the project in 2014.

Thomas Cook was able to inrease share from 50.1 to 75% a year earlier because of the disappointing financial performance. As a result, the share of Intourist in the JV decreased from 49.9% to 25%. After that, in 2014, the operating loss of ITC Travel Investments decreased by three times and amounted to only £ 3 million.

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