Thomas Cook Group Plc Signals Annual Profits Up 36%

The shares of Thomas Cook Group (LSE: TCG) drooped 3p to 182p during early-afternoon trading after the global travel company today announced its first-quarter results.   

The FTSE 250 member, which recently won best Online Travel Agency at the British Travel Awards, reported underlying losses for the three months that ended 31 December had reduced by £10m to £56m.

The group confirmed the first-quarter performance had pushed underlying twelve-month profits 36% higher to £274m.

The first-quarter results also highlighted net debt was reduced by nearly £300m, down from £1.55bn to £1.28bn, as well as revenues flat at £1.7bn. Some 36% of the group’s holidays were booked online.

In line with a disposal programme, the tourism firm announced the sale of Gold Medal to dnata, and Elegant Resorts to Al Tayya, for £45m and £14.3m respectively.

Harriet Green, Thomas Cook’s chief executive, attributed the performance to the “seasonal nature” of the business and reminded shareholders that these results should be viewed “in their annual context”.

She added:

“I am pleased to report further rapid progress delivering our strategy for sustainable profitable growth.”

“Our Q1 results, new product revenue growth, web integration, cost out and profit improvement programmes combined with an intense business focus and financial discipline, all underpinned by the Thomas Cook Business System, give us confidence of achieving our targets and delivering even more value in the years to come.”

Furthermore, Ms Green boasted that summer city bookings had increased 12% to 152,000, and the firm’s hotel portfolio had amassed 136 new destinations.

Of course, whether today’s first-quarter results as well as the wider prospects for the tourism sector both combine to make Thomas Cook a ‘buy’ right now is something only you can decide.

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> Douglas does not own any share mentioned in this article.