Travel giant Thomas Cook yesterday revealed a 40 per cent plunge in United Kingdom earnings as it suffered amid "challenging" trading and a hit from the weak pound.
Travel giant Thomas Cook has reported a 12 per cent increase in pre-tax profits for the 2017 year to September, though underlying earnings in the United Kingdom business fell 34 per cent amid rising hotel prices, the value of pound and intense competition in Spain. It also has to pay to look after 10,000 passengers affected by Hurricane Irma in the US.
"We have taken a robust approach towards illness claims including improving our handling and assessment processes, and taking legal action against fraudsters - as a result, the claim rate has declined dramatically".
Group revenue rose nine per cent on a like-for-like basis to £9bn, with underlying earnings before interest and tax rising £24m to £330m.
Bookings for summer holidays in Greece are significantly up, United Kingdom tour operator Thomas Cook announced on Tuesday.
The FTSE 250 firm said it was taking action to restore profitability after underlying United Kingdom earnings dived 40% - or by £34m - to £52m in its financial year to 30 September, despite a 3% increase in revenue.
Thomas Cook Group said it made good financial progress during its fiscal full year, with demand for Greece and long-haul destinations balancing out a more competitive market in Spain.
LESS CHANGE Brits are forking out more money to go on holiday to Spain
Fankhauser said: "Looking to the year ahead, we can see real momentum in our Group Airline, and expect our Continental Europe and Northern Europe tour operator businesses to continue their good performance".
Chief executive Peter Fankhauser said 2017 was a "milestone year in the strategic development of Thomas Cook". Its UK division saw margins drop after four years of growth.
Thomas Cook is also focusing on destinations such as Turkey and Egypt as they begin to regain popularity.
Based on current trading, Thomas Cook said it is well-positioned to achieve a full-year operating result in line with market expectations.
There was better news for Thomas Cook in its airline division and in its other European markets.
"With destinations in the eastern Mediterranean out of favour following political unrest, holiday providers are dashing headlong into Spanish resorts", commented Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. "The increased competition is a double whammy for Thomas Cook, pushing up the cost of beds while piling the pressure on pricing".
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