Some Hedge Funds and Airlines to Gain from Thomas Cook’s Collapse

September 23, 2019 | Headlines, Hedge Funds
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Hedge funds that used credit default swaps to bet on Thomas Cook’s collapse will make a lot of money.

The 178-year old travel operator, Thomas Cook’s collapse, will lead to the loss of 21,000 jobs. Besides, more than 150,000 tourists are stuck at vacations spots across the world.

The company threw up its hands after last-minute talks to raise funds failed. As a result, Thomas Cook flights, bookings, and conducted tours were canceled or thrown in limbo. The world’s oldest tour operator could not sustain competition from on-line booking sites and budget airlines. Brexit and a falling pound added to its problems.

But certain hedge funds will stand to make about $250 million from the agency’s bankruptcy.

Credit default swaps payout in the case of a default

Hedge fund speculators, including Sona Asset Management and XAIA Investment GmbH, could end up with a payout of that size.

That’s because they bet on Thomas Cook’s collapse using a kind of financial derivatives known as a credit default swap (CDS). A CDS earns a payment when a company – such as Thomas Cook – defaults.

A so-called Determinations Committee will decide Monday on payouts to Thomas Cook CDS-holders.

Boris Johnson declines a bailout

British Prime Minister reportedly declined a £150 million lifeline to avert Thomas Cook’s collapse. Johnson said it was a lot of money and set up a “moral hazard” for other firms at risk of collapse.

Ironically, however, the UK is now bringing back all UK customers at the cost of the taxpayer. The cheque for the biggest repatriation in modern history could tot up to hundreds of millions of pounds.

Other airlines and travel businesses also benefit

Thomas Cook’s collapse sent stocks of rival European airlines and travel companies sharply higher. The broad markets were down, however, on disappointing macro data that pointed to a downturn in the Eurozone.

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