Thomas Cook buoyant despite Middle East unrest

Thomas Cook buoyant despite Middle East unrest

Thomas Cook remains confident it can improve its position in 2011 despite continuing unrest in the Middle East.

Revenue at the tour operator increased four per cent to £3,431 million in the half year to March 31st.

As anticipated, the impact of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) “situation” and the shift of Easter into the second half of the financial year resulted in an increased seasonal operating loss of £166 million, Thomas Cook said.

However, losses did not dent enthusiasm from chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa: “I am constantly impressed at how resilient our business and people are to ever changing business conditions. 

“We have responded to the challenges of political unrest in MENA and the weak UK consumer environment by redirecting our flying programme, cutting costs and continue to focus on our strategic priorities.

“As expected, first half trading was impacted by the timing of Easter and the unrest in the MENA region but despite the difficult UK trading environment in the first half, we have contained the seasonal loss and kept our focus on cash flow. 

“Our Continental and Northern European businesses have performed well, supported by an improving economic backdrop.”

Thomas Cook confirmed summer trading remained strong across continental and northern Europe, with the UK facing a tougher trading environment.

The tour operator maintained its interim dividend at 3.75 pence per share.

“While results in our UK business are likely to be below last year’s levels and the MENA situation remains uncertain, our Continental and Northern European businesses are performing well and summer booking levels are encouraging.

“Therefore we remain well positioned to make progress for the year,” concluded Fontenla-Novoa.