Thomas Cook buoyant despite economic slump
24 June, 2008: Thomas Cook is predicting strong trading for summer having hedged most of its fuel and foreign currency needs and reports it has 19% fewer holidays left to sell in the UK market compared to this time last year.
The operator unveiled its unaudited results for the six months ending April today and said it was confident that despite an uncertain economic climate, outlook was positive for all major markets.
Pro forma loss from operations has been reduced by 15% to £177.5m while group unaudited reported loss from operations was £163.7m, £15m higher than the period last year but that did not include the £69.6m of seasonal winter losses that came with the purchase of MyTravel.
With crude oil purchase prices hedged 100% and jet fuel 93% for the rest of the financial year along with 89% of foreign currency needs hedged, chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa remains confident. He said: “I’m delighted with our performance over the winter and we are in a very good position for the summer season. I remain confident that we will achieve our goals for this year. For the longer term, our strategy is on track, our merger synergies are coming through, and we continue to target £480m (equivalent to €620m) of operating profit in 2009/10.”
The statement said the UK is performing strongly for the operator with 19% less holidays to sell compared to last year, which puts it in a healthy place with the lates market. It added: “We are particularly encouraged by our much lower level of stock left to sell in short haul and long haul. Average selling prices are cumulatively 5% ahead and over the last 6 weeks have been 14% ahead of the corresponding prior year period. Margins are also ahead of the prior year.”
Thomas Cook also used the financial results to announce the departure of group CFO Ludger Heuberg who is stepping down for family reasons. He will be replaced by Juergen Bueser from July 1.