Bottom Line: Owners going places

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The Independent Online
OWNERS Abroad is back and, under new management, is going places. After watching helplessly during last year's Airtours bid as competitors laid claim to its Mediterranean locations, the revamped company has reclaimed its share of the overseas holiday market.

Rival Airtours has established that branding can be kept to a minimum. Is this the cue for the birth of Enterprise Holidays, one of Owners' leading brands, as the new corporate name?

Rebranding and the ensuing shift in marketing strategy will be costly for Owners even with good selling prices on the large rump of holidays left in the system.

The keenly priced rump - about 2.5 million out of a total market of 13 million holidays - is a legacy from the damaging industry price war in the Eighties.

The consensus is that Owners, having flattened its seasonal interim losses from pounds 38.6m to pounds 29.3m, will make about pounds 23m pre-tax for the year.

At 99p, up 6p, the shares sport a p/e of 12.5 and a 4.5 per cent yield, assuming 3.5p of dividends. While not as cheap as some of its holidays, the shares are back on the buy shelf.