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Published on Wednesday, July 10, 2019

IATA suspends Cox & Kings' BSP licence

Shares in travel firm Cox & Kings fell again on the India stock market, this time by 5%, after the International Air Transport Association (IATA) suspended the India-based company's Billing and Settlement Plan license.

IATA is sufficiently concerned over Cox & Kings' liquidity to pull its BSP line of credit, following the company's default on two debt repayments recently.

In an India stock market filing Cox & Kings said it would continue to issue tickets on cash and carry basis, and would therefore have to settle the value of airlines tickets issued on a weekly basis.

It defaulted on two commercial papers after a series of credit downgrades, blaming a 'cash flow mismatch.'

"The working capital situation at Cox & Kings stretched in the last few months and was further impacted due to its inability to replace the short term loans with long term loans and regular working capital lines," it said.

To ease the debt burden the company is mulling a sale of some of its assets.

Indian media report the visa processing business Cox & Kings Global Services and its corporate travel business could be sold. However, it does not appear to be looking to sell its UK luxury long-haul tour operator, or to offload its 49% stake in the UK-based Malvern Group, which owns Super Break and Laterooms.

Last year it sold off European education tour business subsidiary Holiday Break to Midlothian Capital Partners, and said at the time the funds would go toward servicing its debt.

Cox & Kings claims to be the longest established travel company in the world, having launched in 1758 when it was appointed as general agents to the regiment of Foot Guards in India under the command of Lord Ligonier.

By 1878, C&K were agents for most British regiments posted overseas, including the Royal Cavalry, Artillery and Infantry, as well as the Royal Wagon Train and the Household Brigade. The Royal Navy was next and in 1912, The Royal Air Force came under its wings.

Its India operations are headquartered in Mumbai and it has worldwide offices located in the UK, USA, Japan, Russia, Singapore and Dubai. It has associate offices in Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Sweden and Australia.

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