Accountancy firms clock up £11m bill for Thomas Cook liquidation

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
A man walks past a KPMG logo outside one of the accountancy firm's offices. Photo: Reuters/Charles Platiau

Accountancy firms KPMG and AlixPartners have already been paid £11m to assist with the liquidation of Thomas Cook, MPs have been told.

The fees cover three weeks of work across the 26 companies that have been liquidated following the 23 September collapse of the airline.

The two firms were appointed as special managers of the process because of the “significant” scale of the airline’s wind-down operation, Dean Beale, the CEO of the Insolvency Service, told the Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee on Wednesday.

“KPMG were able to bring resources very quickly to the liquidation to support the official receiver,” Beale said. “And AlixPartners, through its work with Thomas Cook in the run-up to the liquidation, had information and experience of the operation of Thomas Cook.”

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Asked whether £11m was “a lot” by the chair of the committee, Labour MP Rachel Reeves, Beale said that over 300 employees from the two firms were working on the liquidation in the week after Thomas Cook collapsed.

“It was a huge undertaking in those first couple of weeks,” he said.

Noting that it was “early days”, Beale said it was “very very difficult to estimate how much this is going to cost overall”.

“In terms of payments so far, the costs of the special managers are around £11m to date across the two firms,” he said. “That figure is coming down rapidly — clearly with the cessation of the repatriation exercise.”

“As parts of the business that can be sold are being sold, the amount of work that the special managers are doing for the official receiver is tailing off significantly.”

Earlier in the week, auditors PwC and EY were criticised by MPs on the committee for for failing to challenge Thomas Cook’s management.

MPs heard that PwC earned £21m in consultancy fees from Thomas Cook during the years it was auditing the business.

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