Eurocamp expects a better break

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The Independent Online
SHARES in Eurocamp closed 8p higher at 265p after the self-drive camping holiday group forecast an improvement in profits in the year to October.

Richard Atkinson, managing director, said bookings were running 20 per cent ahead of last year.

'More favourable market conditions have certainly been a factor in this, but keener pricing, effective marketing and the achievement of improved service have strengthened our position,' he said.

Higher occupancy rates and cost-cutting are expected to push sales margins higher than last year, when lower bookings led to a 33 per cent fall in profits.

Mr Atkinson said the highly competitive market had held prices back but he predicted revenues per booking to match last year's. Bookings for mobile homes grew strongly and those for tents bounced back after last year's decline.

The pre-tax loss in the seasonally quiet first half to April grew slightly from pounds 5.1m to pounds 5.9m. Turnover was reduced because of a decline in demand for Easter breaks to Euro Disneyland.

There was a loss per share of 15.2p (13.2p) but the interim dividend was increased from 3.45p to 3.6p.

Business in Germany was particularly strong despite its recession and new operations in Sweden and Denmark performed well.

Eurocamp came to the market three years ago at 225p but failed to attract applications for all of its shares after the image of holiday companies suffered from the collapse earlier that year of International Leisure Group.