Kuoni boss resigns as group shows profit

Andreas Schmid, chairman of Kuoni has resigned according to the Times newspaper, this comes as the Swiss travel agency swings into profit.

 

 

Schmid’s resifnation is with immediate effect after a strategic disagreement with management and the company’s directors.

Mr Schmid, who led a failed attempt this year to forge ties with the British tour operator First Choice, said: “It is clear that a majority of the board of directors has a different view of the situation than I do.”

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The Swiss travel agency said Tuesday that it has swung to a first-half net profit on stronger sales.

Strong demand from Switzerland and Scandinavia, two of the company’s biggest markets drove growth.

Kuoni said that growth was particularly dynamic in India, where bookings were up 31 percent.

In Scandinavia, bookings were up 14 percent and 2 percent in the UK, while France showed a decline of 3 percent year-over-year.

The group generated total turnover of CHF 1 753 million for the first six months of 2006, a substantial 11.2% improvement on the CHF 1 577 million of the same period last year.

Organic growth for the period was also high at 10.3%.

Gross profit stood at an encouraging CHF 371.6 million, up 9.4% on the CHF 339.7 million of January-to-June 2005. Gross profit margin declined slightly, from 21.5% to 21.2%.

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) improved to CHF 0.5 million (which compares to minus CHF 14.8 million for the prior-year period) thanks to positive business trends in the Destination Management segment and encouraging performances from the Group’s Asian and Scandinavian subsidiaries.

The net result of CHF 8.1 million was a sizeable improvement on the minus CHF 7.2 million of the prior-year period.

Cash flow from operating activities rose a substantial 36.6% from the CHF 106.0 million of January-to-June 2005 to CHF 144.8 million.

The balance sheet showed equity of CHF 576.5 million on June 30, 2006 (compared to CHF 581.8 million on December 31, 2005) and an equity ratio of 31.5% (compared to 35.1% at the end of 2005).

The Kuoni Group expects its results for 2006 as a whole to show a percentage increase in turnover which is comparable to that achieved for the first six months of the year.
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