Thomson Holidays owner profit jump bucks the trends
Thomson Holidays owner TUI Travel shook off a recent warning from rival Thomas Cook about tough conditions as it posted a double-digit rise in annual earnings and said it was pleased with trading going into next year.
Underlying operating profit for the year to the end of September rose 4% to £612m, or 11% on a constant currency basis, with revenues 3% lower at £14.6bn mainly due to exchange rate movements.
TUI said it was pleased with progress so far over the winter and said a strong start to summer 2015 had continued the momentum.
They come as the company, which also owns First Choice, prepares to complete a merger with its German parent company TUI AG, creating a firm which serves 30 million customers, and owns 230 hotels and seven cruise ships.
Chief executive Peter Long said the results showed the resilience of the business "in what has been a competitive trading environment for many tour operators and airlines" and that the merger would strengthen the combined group.
TUI said its profit rise had been driven by strong performances in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands and a halving of losses at its French tour operator.
It said a tough performance for its Nordics arm in the first half had been stabilised though trading in Russia and Ukraine "continues to be challenging".
The company said UK bookings for this winter were up 4% with average selling prices up 2%. Sales for long-haul destinations, up 13%, have been boosted by an expanded 787 fleet, while a new winter resort has opened in Jamaica.
For the summer, UK bookings are up 9% with average selling prices up 2%.