Kuoni to trim workforce as it unveils grand plan

Kuoni is embarking on a CHF106m (£67m) investment programme to combat the recession, mainly through increased marketing and staff training. It also warned that jobs would be shed, mainly through natural attrition, although with “a few exceptions” for which it would deploy “socially-acceptable solutions”.The Swiss travel giant made the announcement ahead of its 2008 annual results on 19 March, which it said would be broadly inline with expectations. These will include a 3.3% rise in turnover, to CHF4.86 million.

Peter Rothwell, CEO of the Kuoni Group, said: “We believe in our future. And we believe above all in the future of travel. With these investments and initiatives, we are taking the right action at the right time. Kuoni will report total turnover of CHF 4,855 million for 2008, a 3.3 percent improvement on our prior-year result. Organic growth amounted to 4.4 percent, while the net impact of currency movements eroded 7.0 per cent from our turnover result.”

The group, which was voted “World’s Leading Tour Operator” at the World Travel Awards Grand Final 2008, also unveiled new strategic initiatives. These include strengthening the electronic distribution channel; a marketing spree that will include its first-ever global communications campaign; as well as a programme to enhance employees’ skills and efficiency.

“We’re convinced that this is the right moment to take this action,” adds Max E. Katz, CFO of the Kuoni Group. “We are deliberately forgoing any attempt to effect a short-term improvement in our results in favour of investing in our corporate future. The reason we are able to make these anticyclical investments is that we are financially healthy and, thanks to our business model, in sound overall shape.”