Thomas Cook (India) grapples with collapse of namesake

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on October 21, 2019

Romil Pant of Thomas Cook India   -  Debasish Bhaduri

As the London-based Thomas Cook Group Plc collapsed last month, some 5,000 miles away, the stock of an unrelated namesake, Thomas Cook (India), took a pounding.

Almost a month since the fiasco, and several clarifications later, including an investor call by the India-based entity to allay fears, Thomas Cook (India) says “it is business as usual”.

According to Romil Pant, Senior Vice-President – Lesuire Travel, Thomas Cook India, the company is in a ‘wait and watch’ mode with regard to the ‘Thomas Cook’ brand name. Thomas Cook (India) can use the eponymous brand name till 2024 in India. Reports suggested that the Indian entity could explore the possibility of buying out the brand for some markets. “There has been no call yet on the brand acquisition. It is the senior management’s decision (brand acquisition). At present, we are closely monitoring the developments and (are) in a wait and watch mode,” he told BusinessLine. Thomas Cook (India) has two brands — Thomas Cook and SOTC (a step-down subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Group).

Listed on the BSE and NSE, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd is a completely separate entity from its UK-based namesake. It was acquired by the Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings in 2012 from Thomas Cook Group Plc. Thomas Cook (India) pays ₹2 crore a year as fee for the brand. According to Pant, initial news of the collapse of the UK-based travel major led to frantic queries from customers. The Indian entity took to social media trying to reach out to customers directly with brand ambassadors such as actor Boman Irani posting “public notices” or “responding to customer queries” whereby Thomas Cook (India) distanced itself from the now bankrupt Thomas Cook Group Plc.

“It has been business as usual for us here. We have tried to allay customer fears,” Pant said, adding that the company has already achieved 60 per cent of its internal booking targets for the September-December quarter of 2019.

Published on October 21, 2019

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