Mumbai: Thomas Cook Group Plc, which had earlier this month announced plans to sell its entire stake in its Indian arm, is expected to complete the process by the middle of this calendar year, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd Managing Director Madhavan Menon told NewsWire18 on Friday.
   
Having received several unsolicited bids for its Indian arm, the UK-based travel and leisure company on Feb 8 said it will sell its 77.1% stake in Thomas Cook (India).
   
The country's largest travel and leisure company on Thursday said it will not sell its operations on a piece-meal basis and will instead prefer to sell the entire operations as a single entity.
   
"The process (of selling the Indian operations is) just starting. We will examine the bids, decide who we want to invite to make the final bid. At that stage, you know, we will determine who the buyer will be," Menon said. "This could take middle of the year."
   
Thomas Cook (India) operates in three main business segments--corporate and leisure travel planning, foreign exchange and travel insurance.
   
The company is also into the business of remittance of money.
   
Menon said, over the last few months, the company had witnessed a rise in remittances to India following the sharp fall in the rupee against the dollar, which has led to higher earnings via commissions.
   
The rupee had depreciated nearly 17% during Sep-Dec.
   
"With the rupee strengthening, there will be some decline in volumes... My expectation is that the rupee will weaken further, before it strengthens... (our) foreign exchange business will get the benefit of that," he said.
   
Post market hours Thursday, Thomas Cook (India) reported an 80% sequential fall in its Oct-Dec consolidated net profit to 50.45 mln rupees. The company's consolidated net sales were down 14.53% on quarter at 873.05 mln rupees, and operating profit margin stood at 10.97% versus 37.51% in the previous quarter.
   
Menon, however, expects the travel business to gain traction in the upcoming holiday season, and said the company will maintain its operating profit margin around the current level in 2012-13 (Apr-Mar).
   
Today, shares of Thomas Cook (India) ended down 4.6% at 59.60 rupees on the National Stock Exchange.

(Agencies)