Cooking Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook: on the verge of finance deal

Beleaguered tour operator Thomas Cook Group (TCG) is on the verge of finalising a £1.2bn deal with a consortium of 17 banks including Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays.

"Thomas Cook confirms that it is in advanced discussions with its banking group about extending its financing arrangements [and] the group expects to report in more detail on the results of that review by the time of the interim results," the tour operator said.

Interim results are expected by the end of May.

"Extending the facility looks a sensible move in that it gives the group more time to turn around the business and at the same time there should be less pressure to fire sale," Nick Batram, a Peel Hunt analyst, told the Daily Telegraph.

"In addition to the revised financing arrangements, the previously announced asset disposal programme and the sale of Thomas Cook India, the group is exploring a possible sale and leaseback of aircraft," the tour operator added.

With an annual turnover of £90bn and a customer base of 23.6 million across 22 countries, the company has had to take out an emergency loan of £200m.

With the steep downturn in student numbers from India to the UK because of tighter restrictions on study visas, the company decided to offload its Indian subsidiary.

"The group has launched a sale process for its Indian business. We have seen a good level of interest and the disposal process is progressing well," said the group.

A sale is expected to fetch about £113m. TCG acquired Thomas Group India from a Dubai investment group in 2008.