Paris (AFP)

Eleven buyers will share the tour operator Thomas Cook France, carried away by the resounding bankruptcy of its British parent company, half of the 685 jobs in France will be saved, according to a judgment delivered Thursday.

"No global offer" had been received, recalled the Nanterre Commercial Court in charge of the proceedings for bankruptcy, in its judgment consulted by AFP. He notes, however, that "the significant number of interests in the recovery manifested demonstrates the reputation of the group".

Thomas Cook France declared itself insolvent two months ago. It currently employs 685 employees on permanent contracts and has 174 travel agencies of its own - not counting 247 other franchised outlets that were not involved in the procedure.

"In order to save and sustain a maximum of jobs, the court ruled in favor of the takeover by various buyers of 149 agencies, and a portion of the activity + groups + for 25 employees, a total of 347 positions taken ", said the tour operator in a statement sent to AFP.

He regrets that "despite all the efforts made by the administrators and management, 25 agencies and most of the staff attached to headquarters are not included."

The tour operator specifies that a central works council (CCE) with the representative bodies of the staff will be held Friday "for consultation on the proposed collective dismissal for economic reasons of employees not taken back".

In total, just over one million euros are put on the table by the eleven buyers.

The principal is a consortium of initially six companies - Havas Voyages (Marietton group), Salaün Holidays, Karavel / Promovacances, Vacon, Sainte-Claire and Esprit de Voyage - to which three other actors have been added as part of an improved offer. . Together, they will recover 141 points of sale.

- Minimum interest for Jet Tours -

"We had built the biggest offer in terms of staff turnover and we are satisfied," commented AFP Alain de Mendonça, president of the Karavel / Promovacances group, which owns the Fram and Promovacances brands.

On its own, its company takes over "about fifteen agencies" in geographical areas where it was not present, as well as the activity "groups", mainly sales to works councils.

Regarding the future of the agencies taken over, the court considers in its judgment that "all the candidates have a good knowledge of the sector of activity of Thomas Cook, being themselves professionals of the sector".

As for Jet Tours, the tour operator activity of Thomas Cook France, his fate will be the subject of a subsequent judgment: the only proposal for the resumption of the activity was carried by the management team, which was finally withdrawn for lack of funding.

Only the "mark" Jet Tours, without its assets and employees, has prompted a proposal for recovery led by an economic interest group (GIE).

At the end of September 2019, Thomas Cook France claimed a turnover ("gross consolidated") of 750 million euros, ranging between 380 million for its distribution network, and 370 million for its activity as a tour operator via the Jet Tours brand.

But according to its accounts filed in the registry, consulted by AFP, the French subsidiary also connects for years net losses: -26 million for the year ended September 2018, -30 million in 2017, -21 million in 2016.

The cost of the sinking of Thomas Cook France is estimated at 45 million euros - between the repatriation of travelers on vacation at the time of the bankruptcy of the parent company and the assumption of responsibility for stays already sold until 2022 - by the fund Travel Agency Guarantee (APST).

In early November, the Chinese group Fosun - the largest shareholder of the British tour operator at the time of its bankruptcy, up to 18% - announced the acquisition of the name "Thomas Cook" for 13 million euros.

© 2019 AFP