Thomas Cook losses widen, omits divi

Shares of travel firm Thomas Cook nose-dived after it said full year losses widened on higher fuel costs and write-downs.

Shares of travel firm Thomas Cook nose-dived after it said full year losses widened on higher fuel costs and write-downs.

Pre-tax loss widened to a thumping £485.3m in the year ended September 30th 2012 compared to a loss of £398.2m in 2011. Revenue fell to £9.49bn from £9.8bn previously.

The heavily indebted travel firm which has battled against a downturn in global travel and high debt levels and endured three profit warnings last year, said it is recovering lost ground from last year's difficulties.

"These results reflect the major issues that Thomas Cook faced last year, but they mask the material improvement that we made in the fourth quarter," said Chief Executive Harriet Green.

"The year ahead is the initial stage in this recovery and as we embark upon our first year of Business Transformation."

Like-for-like revenue fell on reduced capacity actions in the UK and West Europe and included a £240m contribution from acquisitions in Russia and the Co-op in the UK.

Underlying profit from operations, including an £11m contribution from the Indian business, which was disposed during the year, was £156m compared to £304m before.

It said significant progress was made under the UK transformation plan however this was offset by increased fuel costs, reduced capacity and adverse publicity about its bank refinancing. UK underlying profit from operations was £19m below last year.

Otherwise Thomas Cook reduced its debts to £788m from £891m before after the sale of businesses and an improvement in working capital management. The group was hit with around £100m from capacity reductions.

The group said current trading was good with the summer ending well and winter 12/13 trading off to a good start in major markets, with bookings ahead of committed capacity and improvements in pricing.

"We are optimistic about the future and look forward to updating on our full plans and additional financial benefits in the spring of 2013," it added.

No dividend will be paid for the year ended September 30th 2012.

The share price was down 4.61 at 23p by 09:00 in London.

CJ

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