The first six months of the 2009 business year were dramatically affected by a number of negative external influences for the Kuoni Group.
The global financial and economic crisis, significantly adverse currency movements, and the first effects of the swine flu, all depressed the first-half results.
Turnover for the period totalled CHF 1 760 million, down 21.0 %. Underlying earnings before interest and taxes (underlying EBIT 1) fell to CHF –40.7 million (£23.2 million). The net result amounted to CHF –51.0 million.
With deep economic recession, the continuing reluctance to spend among consumers and negative currency movements, results were down on their prior-year levels in all Kuoni markets.
However, booking trends for the second half of 2009 suggest a slight improvement in general consumer demand.
FACTS AND FIGURES FOR THE FIRST HALF OF 2009
Turnover for the Kuoni Group totalled CHF 1 760 million, a 21.0 % decline on the same period last year. The negative organic growth amounted to 13.9 %, while currency movements had a negative impact of 7.2 %.
Underlying earnings before interest and taxes (underlying EBIT 1) stood at CHF –40.7 million (compared to CHF 17.0 million for the prior-year period).
The net result amounted to CHF –51.0 million (compared to CHF 26.5 million for the prioryear period).
Cash flow from operating activities stood at CHF 28.8 million (compared to CHF 159.4 million for the first half of 2008).
The balance sheet showed equity of CHF 541 million on 30 June 2009 (compared to CHF 606 million as of 31 December 2008). The equity ratio decreased due to seasonal influences to 29.6 %.
An extraordinary investment and cost-reduction programme was announced at the end of January 2009. The three-year CHF 106 million programme will see key investments made in electronic distribution channels, in global marketing and branding and in enhancing employee skills and efficiency. The focus in the first half of 2009 was on standardising booking systems group-wide. The first migrations will be effected in the second half of this year.
In the first half year, the Kuoni Group spent CHF 8.0 million on the entire programme.
Restructuring actions were initiated in all the Group’s divisions in the first half-year and reduced the overall Group payroll. The Kuoni Group employed an average workforce of 9 283 full-time-equivalent employees in the first six months of 2009. The average workforce number in 2008 amounted to 9 797 full-time-equivalents.
The Kuoni Group acquired a 32 % equity holding in Et-China at the beginning of June 2009, making Kuoni the biggest single shareholder in Southern China’s most important tour operator. In the long-term, this acquisition will substantially add to the Group’s growth. The expansion of its activities in China is one of the most significant milestones to date in the more than 100 years of Kuoni’s corporate history.