The special managers of separate divisions of Thomas Cook have appointed CAPA to audit properties across the group.
CAPA will now be auditing 376 sites that Thomas Cook occupied after administrators at KPMG, the accountancy firm, and Alix Partners, the business rescue advisors, were appointed to manage and liquidate separate parts of the travel agency.
KPMG was appointed in September as special managers of the Thomas Cook Retail and Thomas Cook Aircraft Engineering businesses. These appointments include the liquidation of Thomas Cook high street shops and its travel and financial services business.
Alix Partners was appointed as special managers of Thomas Cook Airlines, and Thomas Cook Group Tour Operations, along with several other companies in the group.
The UK’s oldest travel business, Thomas Cook had been trading for 178 years up until its collapse in September 2019. At its peak the group posted £9bn of annual sales, served 19 million customers and employed 22,000 staff in 16 countries.
The group had issued a series of profit warnings in the lead up to its liquidation. Increased competition from online travel agents and budget airlines, along with longer term changes in customer behaviour, had dented its revenue and profitability.
Ultimately, after 11th hour talks between lenders, shareholders, management and the government failed to result in a rescue deal, the group entered liquidation on September 23 2019.
After the insolvency both KPMG and Alix Partners instructed CAPA to conduct full property and accounts payable audits on the 376 sites operated by Thomas Cook. The remaining properties in the group comprised stores transferred to Hays Travel in a rescue deal.
The instruction means CAPA’s Audit team will use bespoke software to inspect all information related to rates, service management, rent, utility bills and all other costs related to the 376 properties.
The team will also interrogate data on all invoices owed to the Thomas Cook businesses that Alix Partners are now managing.
The auditors will look to uncover any anomalies or errors in the information, before recovering any overspend for the creditors of Thomas Cook.