TORONTO — TravelBrands Inc. says it is business as usual after obtaining an Order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial Division) granting it creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).
TravelBrands, made up of 10 tour operator wholesale and five retail travel brands, said it made the move to provide it with the necessary time and stability to restructure certain isolated areas of its business.
“After acquiring what was then Thomas Cook Canada Inc., the company made significant effort to address challenges associated with the business – and has been largely successful,” said a statement. “There are certain remaining isolated legacy issues that are significantly impacting TravelBrands’ financial performance that can only be sufficiently addressed within the confines of CCAA legislation.”
This seems to include hefty rent charges for Thomas Cook’s former head office at 75 Eglinton East. The entire building is empty and is available for sub lease but there have been no takers since TravelBrands moved out almost two years ago.
The Sears Travel relationship has also been problematic, according to sources.
“Our customers are not affected by this announcement,” said Frank DeMarinis, Chief Executive Officer of TravelBrands. “Our wholesale and retail brands remain open for business and there will be absolutely no change to the service and support our customers have come to expect from us. As far as our external partners are concerned, it’s business as usual.”
He added that the company has sufficient cash to continue operations as usual under CCAA protection.
DeMarinis added, “TravelBrands enters CCAA with the support of its creditors and investors. We will emerge from creditor protection financially stronger, more competitive and well-positioned for the future.”
Under the Initial Order, among other things, TravelBrands was granted a stay of proceedings, staying creditor claims against the company and its subsidiaries during the CCAA process.
KPMG has been appointed by the court as the monitor of the company in the proceedings. The Stay of Proceedings granted under the Initial Order will last for 30 days, although the company may apply for an extension to the stay in the normal course and at any point during the 30-day period.
Additional information regarding the company’s CCAA proceedings, including court materials, will be made publicly available on the Monitor’s website at kpmg.com/Ca/en/services/Advisory/TransactionRestructuring/CreditorlinkSites/TravelBrands/Pages/default.aspx. TravelBrands will provide further updates throughout its restructuring process.
TravelBrands operates under several wholesale and retail brands, including, among others: Sunquest, BelAir Travel, Wholesale Travel Group, Last Minute Club, Holiday House, FunSun Vacations, Encore Cruises, Boomerang Tours, ALBATours, Exotik Tours, Intair, Network and Carte Postale. The company said it does not anticipate changes to the operations of these businesses as a result of the CCAA proceedings.