Dart ups divi as airline takes off

Travel and logistics firm Dart Group reported a strong rise in profits in the first half, driven by its airline Jet2.com.

Travel and logistics firm Dart Group reported a strong rise in profits in the first half, driven by its airline Jet2.com.

The company said it expects to exceed current market expectations for the year ending March 31st 2013.

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This comes despite the group saying its business was becoming increasingly seasonal and losses were expected to be higher than initially thought in the second half of the year.

Pre-tax profits were £57m in the six months to the end of September, up 37% on the previous half year.

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Earnings per share increased to 30.11p from 21.82p and the firm said it would increase its interim dividend by 26% to 0.54p per share.

Turnover was up 31% to £584.5m, with the firm hailing a strong summer for Jet2.com, underpinned by the continued successful growth of its package holiday site Jet2holidays.

Net cash flow from operations of £81m was generated in the period, up from £10.7m the year before.

Total capital expenditure amounted jumped from £10.6m to £26.1m, reflecting spending in the group's aircraft fleet.

Jet2.com flew 3.6m scheduled passengers in the period, an increase of 14%, with the total number of routes served rising to 162 from 148 previously.

Load factors increased from 89.8% to 91.6%, while net ticket yields increased from £52.63 to £59.81.

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Tour operator Jet2holidays saw 312,000 customers book on package holidays in the half year, almost double the 2011 figure.

As a result revenue increased by 117% to £180.6m, something Dart put down to its development of package holiday products, improvements to the Jet2holidays.com booking process and the firm's ability to offer package holidays to its existing airline destinations.

The Group's logistics company, Fowler Welch, saw overall revenues up 8% on 2011 in an "extremely competitive and price focussed" environment.

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