Thomas Cook has reported healthy trading for the first half of the year, saying any economic downturn slowdown had yet to filter through to the business.Group revenue jumped by 7.5% to £2.96bn in the first half, while it will pay an interim dividend of 3.25p per share.
Speaking to shareholders at the company’s half-year results, Chief Executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa, said: “I’m delighted with our performance over the winter and we are in a very good position for the summer season.”
“I remain confident that we will achieve our goals for this year. For the longer term, our strategy is on track, our merger synergies are coming through, and we continue to target 480 million pounds of operating profit in 2009/10.”
The tour operator also has hinted it is eyeing up acquisitions in Europe as rivals struggle in the face of spiralling fuel prices.
He added: “There will be some big opportunities. I know people who were struggling with soaring oil prices at US$80 a barrel last year, and now it’s over US$100.”
The group has hedged 100% of its fuel requirements and 93% of its jet fuel for the remainder of the financial year. Foreign currency requirements are also fully hedged.
Thomas Cook, which merged with MyTravel in a £1.1bn deal last year, reported revenues up 7.5% to £2.96bn on a pro-forma basis.
There was a statutory operating loss of £163.7m, up 10.2% on last year, but on a pro-forma basis, taking into account a loss recorded by MyTravel in 2007 of £69.6m, the group reduced losses from £209.4m to £177.5m.
Mr Fontenla-Novoa also said its Chief Financial Officer Ludger Heuberg is stepping down and returning to Germany for family reasons, and he will be replaced by Juergen Bueser from July 1.