Oct 4, 2019

Thomas Cook handed millions to advisers in last days

Thomas Cook was forced to pay fees worth tens of millions of pounds to more than 30 advisers in its dying days as it struggled to secure a rescue deal, with the vast payouts adding to an already severe cash burn at the collapsed travel group. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, speaking to the Financial Times, said: "The workers and customers of Thomas Cook will look on aghast at the feeding feast that has taken place at this company by accountants and advisers whilst they have lost their wages, jobs and holidays. We need a complete overhaul of the system for dealing with companies in trouble." Peter Fankhauser, Thomas Cook's chief executive, said the company would have "Run out of cash by 4 October 2019 and probably earlier", according to insolvency documents from late September seen by the FT. Thomas Cook's mounting adviser bills reflected so-called "Cost cover" agreements to bring all parties needed to save the group around the table as it struggled to thrash out terms of a deal. AlixPartners, for example, was brought in by Thomas Cook to advise on its restructuring options in February but was then retained as the special manager to the insolvency service as the government sold the more valuable parts of the company. Rachel Reeves, Labour MP who chairs the business select committee, said: "The collapse of Thomas Cook has again raised serious questions about the role of auditors, consultants and advisers and highlighted concerns that too often their interests appear at odds with their client's shareholders, customers or employees."

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