Thomas Cook Plc, one of the world's oldest travel firms, collapsed on Monday, stranding several travellers around the globe. Madhavan Menon, chairman and MD of Thomas Cook (India), discussed its impact on the Indian business.
Talking about the news report which claimed the Ministry of Corporate Affairs is probing Thomas Cook India in relation to a suspicious money transaction with a Delhi-based forex trader, Menon said, “This particular report appeared in your sister organisation moneycontrol.com yesterday. We had clearly indicated that this was not true. We have not received any such order nor do we deal with this particular money changer. We have refuted this and sent a letter to the exchange. We deny it totally.”
Explaining the relation between the Thomas Cook PLC and Thomas Cook India, Menon said, “It happened in August, early September of 2012. They sold their entire shareholding to Fairfax Financial Holdings. They have not had any shareholding over the last seven years.”
With regards to changing the brand name, Menon said, “We have an arrangement that runs through 2024 and we are adequate legal protection of this particular arrangement and this arrangement will remain in place till the year 2024. We paid Rs 2 crore per anum as the license fee and this license fee will also continue during this period. Over a year ago, we had started on a brand transition plan drawing it up, we have a ready roadmap for a brand transition even though it only ends in November of 2024 and that continues to be in place. We are waiting for the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) process to be completed. So as of now, we continue to operate on that mode.”
“We will move but as per a roadmap that we have drawn ourselves. I don’t want to jump and do something which may have its own effects,” he added.
On the goods and services tax (GST), he said, “The biggest benefit that we get is that the reduction of GST on hotel charges below Rs 7,500 from 28 percent to 18 percent, we are a major beneficiary of that in two of our subsidiaries. Both of which are an inbound business operating out of Delhi.”
On the corporate tax rate cut, Menon said, “We welcome the reduction in the tax. We do get some benefits. They are not significant because we were already paying a lower tax rate.”
“The festive season is coming up. I must mention, the forward bookings are looking decent and they are pretty much similar to what we witnessed a year ago. So I am not too worried at the moment,” said Menon.
“Our expectation is that our revenues will continue to grow in double digits. Our foreign exchange business continues to thrive. We have not seen any reduction there and my belief is that the revenues at this point of time are stable,” he added.