Travelport refuses to rule out renewed IPO bid

Travelport confirmed a stock-market listing “remains an option” as it issued full-year results showing a decline in profits but 2% rise in revenue for 2011.


The travel distribution technology company reported annual turnover in excess of $2.03 billion (£1.27 billion) and an operating profit of $507 million, 7% down on 2010. However, Travelport attributed the bulk of the shortfall to a $37-million bonus pay-out to staff.


Travelport president and chief executive Gordon Wilson described the numbers as “in line with expectations” and said the decline in profit was “almost entirely due to the reinstatement of a bonus for our people”.


He added: “We were marginally behind the GDS [global distribution system] industry as a whole, but this largely reflected our geographic presence.”


Travelport owns the Worldspan and Galileo GDSs and is controlling shareholder of US online agency Orbitz, making the US – where air transactions fell last year – its biggest market.


The group presented its annual results in the kind of detail normally associated with a publically listed company. Wilson said: “That does not mean an IPO [initial public offering] is imminent.” However, he added: “An IPO remains an option.”


Travelport Holdings announced an IPO in January 2010 only to withdraw it the following month amid a lack of enthusiasm in a troubled investment market.


The company underwent a debt restructuring last September to extend a substantial proportion of loans that fell due this March.


It retains debt totalling $3.146 billion (£1.97 billion), of which 93% now falls due in 2014 or thereafter.


The company reported a 6% year-on-year rise in the total transaction value of air and hotel bookings to $83 billion, with an 11% year on year increase in the price of the average air ticket excluding tax and 12% rise in average daily hotel rate.


Wilson reported low-cost carriers now make up 6% of all Travelport air transactions and comprised 11% in the final quarter of 2011.

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