On 10 August 2010, as part of its results for the third quarter and nine months ended 30 June 2010 (unaudited), TUI Travel reported that following completion of the integration of IT systems in its UK mainstream business, it had written off a number of legacy receivable balances that had built up over an extended period of time, amounting in total to £29m. This balance was reported as a separately disclosed item.
The ongoing audit for the full year ended September 2010 has highlighted a further £88m of irrecoverable balances that now need to be written off, giving a total of £117m. These have arisen as a result of failures to reconcile balances adequately in legacy systems in the retail and tour operator businesses in TUI UK. As a result, TUI Travel now believes it is appropriate to restate its results for the year ended 30 September 2009.
The adjustments to the results are non-cash in nature and have no impact on the company’s cash and net debt position. As a result of process improvements during the year, the impact in 2010 has been limited to £5m, in line with the third quarter statement. Accordingly, TUI Travel remains confident that full year results for the year ended 30 September 2010 will be in line with previous guidance and that net debt will be lower than previous guidance.
The adjustments will include the following:
* A reduction of underlying operating profit for the year ended 30 September 2009 of £42m from £443m to £401m, all of which relates to TUI UK.
* A reduction in opening reserves at 1 October 2008 of £70m, from £2,286m to £2,216m.
* As a result of the two adjustments above the separately disclosed items of £29m announced in the Q3 results will no longer be required.
* A reduction in the underlying earnings per share for the year ended 30 September 2009 of 2.8p from 23.8p to 21.0p.
As part of the year end closing process, a full and detailed review of systems and processes has been conducted and TUI Travel is satisfied that the weaknesses in the systems have been rectified. TUI UK is now under a new leadership team of Johan Lundgren, MD Northern Region and Colin McKinlay, who joined on 1 October 2010 as Finance Director from Homeserve plc, where he was UK Finance Director and prior to that gained extensive experience within the travel industry.
Following discussions between Peter Long, Chief Executive and Paul Bowtell, Chief Financial Officer, Paul has decided that it is appropriate to offer his resignation and they have agreed that he will leave the Company at the end of 2010.
Commenting, Peter Long said: “It is now clear that at the time of merger there were weaknesses in the legacy systems we chose to use in the TUI UK business. Despite the fact that this situation had built up over a number of years, Paul is behaving honourably and I am disappointed that he will be leaving the Group. He is one of the most capable Chief Financial Officers I know and we have had an extremely good working relationship over the six years that we have been a team. I have specifically asked Paul to remain with the business to see through the full year audit and production of our preliminary results. I will miss working with him and wish him every success for the future. “