Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia has been rebranded as Sunclass Airlines after a buyout of the collapsed travel group’s Northern Europe business.
Norwegian hotel entrepreneur Petter A. Stordalen has entered into an agreement to acquire successful travel firm Ving Group and Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia, which includes the former’s tour group entities Ving, Spies and Tjäreborg in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
The Stordalen-controlled Strawberry Group and Altor Group have each taken a 40% stake in Ving Group, with TDR buying the remaining 20%.
Airshoppen Travel Retail has long been heralded for its strong duty free, tax free and pre-order offer and has widened its remit to service other airlines.
Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia was not immediately available to comment on if/how its wider Airshoppen services could develop in the context of the new ownership.
All of the existing Ving Group operations will be transferred to a new group as part of the transaction.
This will involve acquiring full companies and the assets of existing ones from the former Ving Group structure.
In a statement, Ving Group says Ving Sweden, Thomas Cook Northern Europe and Thomas Cook Nordic Holding – subject to conditions – are now bankrupt so all operations can be taken over directly by the newly formed group. All operations and personnel are expected to be relocated to the new company.
Speaking at a press conference held in Stockholm last week, Stordalen said: “Today is a great day for a man who loves the travel industry. The wing group in the Nordic countries has created a portfolio of strong Nordic brands, and is today the crown jewel among Nordic tour operators.
“Therefore, I am incredibly proud that we, together with two solid partners, have landed in a solution that allows us to now secure the future of these companies and, not least, that the 400,000 people who have already booked autumn-winter and summer vacations through Ving , Spies, Tjäreborg and Globetrotter can now complete the trip.
“This agreement means first and foremost predictability and security for customers and staff and with a strong and long-term Nordic ownership, Vinggruppen is now given the conditions they need to do what they are best at: creating unique experiences for their guests and giving customers their ‘best weeks of the year’.”
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Magnus Wikner, CEO, Wing Group said: “I am extremely pleased that Stordalen, Altor and TDR will be our new owners. The new owners’ extensive industry experience and financial strength will give us the long-term stability we need as well as completely new opportunities to develop our customer offering in the future.
“The deal also means that the jobs for the more than 2,300 people working within the Wing Group, including our airline, are saved. I would like to extend a big thank you to all our guests who have shown us tremendous support in recent weeks. Together with the new Nordic owners, we will now continue to give our guests the best weeks of the year.”
Harald Mix, Partner, Altor added: “The Wing Group is a fantastic fine business with good profitability which has ended up in a very unfortunate situation. They are now market leaders in holiday travel, thanks to their own concepts such as Sunwing and Sunprime and have also been a leader in the transition to online bookings.
“Through a financial restructuring, we, as new owners, together with other financiers, will secure about SEK6 billion in liquidity and guarantees. It secures operations and creates a stable base for future development.”