Clouds dim prospects for Thomson Travel
Tuesday 09 March 1999
Thomson holds 29 per cent of the UK market for holidays booked through travel agents, ahead of Airtours with 17 per cent and First Choice and Thomas Cook with 16 per cent.
The company said it expected to play "a key role" in the consolidation sweeping the holidays industry in Europe. After seven acquisitions since the float, it is looking for bolt-on deals in Europe, especially in Germany and the Benelux countries.
The comments came as Thomson reported a 10 per cent rise in full-year profits to pounds 122.9m. However, Thomson shares fell 10.5p to 161p, below the 170p issue price last May, on a disappointing trading update.
Thomson's bookings for summer this year are 2 per cent lower than the period last year. This is better than the industry average of a 3 per cent fall, but it contrasts with a 5 per cent rise announced by Airtours.
Thomson has proved a disappointing investment for the 500,000 small investors who subscribed. They should be encouraged that capacity has been cut by 3 per cent this summer, reducing the danger of a glut of discounted holidays.
Thomson is expanding outside the UK - it now operates in eight countries - and developing its higher margin specialist holidays with purchases such as the Simply Travel/ Headwater business. It is also growing its travel agency chain, with yesterday's pounds 3.5m acquisition of the Robert Sibbald network in Scotland taking its total high-street portfolio to 840.
But there are clouds on the horizon. One is the prospect of Airtours exploiting its strength with more capacity. Another is the uncertainty over First Choice and the possibility of an aggressive overseas operator invading the UK market.
On current-year forecasts of pounds 137m, the shares trade on a forward rating of 16. Merrill Lynch says that is high enough for now.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: What you shouldn't tweet about if you want to avoid jail today
- 3 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 4 Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
- 5 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
Scottish independence referendum live: Latest news as Scotland votes Yes or No
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Scottish independence: What you shouldn't tweet about if you want to avoid jail today
Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
Scottish independence: Andy Murray backs Yes campaign in eleventh hour decision
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
iJobs Money & Business
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...
To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...
Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...