Thomas Cook has shared that its full-year operating profits will significantly exceed market expectations. (12/12/2007)
The tour operator said provisional group pro-forma operating profit before exceptional items rose 26% to 375.3 million euros (268.5 million pounds) for the year ended October 31.
The group, merged with MyTravel in June, said that it planned to pay out a 5p a share dividend and embark on a €375 million shares buyback programme. The merger would generate cost savings of "at least" €200 million, it said.
"Both our current trading and our first operating result as Thomas Cook Group are very encouraging," said Joint Chief Executive, Manny Fontenla-Novoa.
He said that Thomas Cook should be generating profits before tax and exceptionals of more than €800 million during its 2009 to 2010 financial year.
In the UK, bookings for winter holidays had improved but continued to run about 2 per cent below last year, Thomas Cook said.
Revenues in the UK for the year to the end of October, at €4.7 billion, were €22.3 million below last year, Thomas Cook said, although it said that cost saving measures meant that operating profits would be €32.3 million above 2006.
"Early indications for the UK summer season 2008 are good, with bookings and average selling prices ahead even though capacity is expected to be lower than for summer 2007," Thomas Cook said. It said that margins per passenger had markedly improved over the past 12 weeks.
Thomas Cook, which plans to reserve fewer hotel rooms and airline seats in advance, may expand through more acquisitions, according to Manny Fontenla-Novoa.
"We have enough money on the balance sheet for acquisitions," he said. Thomas Cook isn´t in any specific talks on takeovers now, he said.