Unaudited results for the six month period ended 31 March 2009.
* Strong financial performance
* Revenue up 12.6% to £3,484.3m (including favourable translation impact of £258.6m)
* Seasonal loss from operations improved 15.6% to £110.9m (including adverse translation impact of £3.9m)
* Interim dividend up 15.4% to 3.75p per share
* Trading in line with expectations
* Strong trading performance in Winter 08/09 with an average tour operator departed load factor of 98%
* Current trading for Summer 09 robust with 5% less to sell versus last year despite the trend to later booking
* Confident of meeting our full year expectations.
As a result of the change in the Company’s year end reference date (from 31 October to 30 September) last year, the prior year financial information and commentary included within this report relates to the pro forma period from 1 October 2007 to 31 March 2008. This has been done to assist investors in understanding the performance of the Group for the interim period. Statutory financial information, including loss per share, for the current and prior year period (6 months to 30 April 2008) has been included in Appendix 2 to this report and summarised on page 12.
Manny Fontenla-Novoa, Chief Executive, Thomas Cook Group plc said: “We delivered a strong performance during the first half, which is the off-peak season in all our markets except Canada, with improvements in seasonal operating loss of 16%.
“Our focus on mainstream holidays, and in particular medium haul, combined with the flexibility in our business model and our ability to deal with changes in demand patterns has benefited us. These results demonstrate not only this, but also the strengths of our cost discipline, brands, products and people.
“We finished the winter season well, with bookings in line with capacity and an average tour operator departed load factor of 98%. Despite the tough economic conditions, current trading for the Summer 09 season is robust with selling prices up and margins in line with our expectations. Customers continue to book nearer to departure, however, load factors remain strong with bookings trending towards our capacity levels.
“We remain confident that we are on track to meet our full year expectations. Our confidence is underpinned by our proven ability to manage capacity and costs as well as driving synergy improvements and implementing contingency measures as appropriate. As a result, we are increasing our interim dividend by 15%.”