Good morning, it's Paul here.

Many thanks to Graham for covering last week's reports, which gave me the opportunity to grab a relaxing & enjoyable week in the sun, in Malta - highly recommended by the way, if you've not been there before (sunny, friendly people, low crime, food & accommodation much cheaper than Greek islands, mosquitoes not too bad, interesting history/culture, everyone speaks English, and they drive on the left).

Estimated completion time of today's report - I'm starting early today, so should be finished by lunchtime. EDIT at 13:12 - it's taking longer than expected, so I'll carry on writing this afternoon. Revised completion time, 5 pm.  Actual completion time: 23:39 - there we go. Does it actually matter?

Today's report is now finished.



Thomas Cook

Talking of which, the really big story today seems to be that Thomas Cook appears to have gone bust, according to press reports. The BBC is saying it's gone into liquidation (i.e. ceased trading), rather than the more usual administration process (where an insolvent business continues trading for a while, as a buyer is sought for its viable parts).

It's been obvious for several years that the shares were worthless, because the group was very clearly insolvent, with vast, unrepayable debt. However, its day-to-day operations were supposed to have been in the process of being rescued by a bail-out from its major Chinese shareholders.

Press reports this morning are saying that the group has ceased trading with immediate effect, leaving huge numbers of holidaymakers stranded. What a mess. The Government, CAA, etc, are apparently hiring large numbers of charter planes to repatriate massive numbers of stranded holidaymakers. That sounds like a gigantic undertaking, difficult to manage due to its sheer scale.

Here's the 7 am RNS, confirming liquidation.

Let's hope the repatriation process is not too gruelling for its customers. Although I did read an article in the Telegraph yesterday, claiming that Thomas Cook customers in a Tunisian hotel were essentially taken hostage - locked in by security guards, if they refused to pay the hotel directly for holidays they had already paid for through Thomas Cook.

What read-across might there be for other shares? I imagine that TUI AG (LON:TUI) could see positive sentiment, as a major competitor goes bust. Although it depends if any parts of…

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