Thomas Cook shares jump to post-Brexit high despite 'difficult year'

Political unrest in Turkey and terrorist attacks dented revenues but tour operator predicts strong bookings for 2017

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The Independent Online

Shares in Thomas Cook rose 7 per cent to hit a post-Brexit high on Tuesday, despite a fall inprofits during what the tour operator described as a “difficult year”. 

The company forecast growth in 2017, boosted by future bookings. Political unrest in Turkey dented revenues in 2016 but it stayed in the black for the year and kept a commitment to pay its first dividend since 2011.

The depreciation of the pound provided a much-needed boost for the package holiday firm, which makes about two-thirds of sales outside the UK. Thomas Cook also reassured holidaymakers that it did not foresee the weak currency would make overseas holidays more expensive for Brits over the next year.

Chief executive Peter Fankhauser said his company’s financials had been helped by its rapid response to the disruption in Turkey by switching focus to Spain and other Mediterranean destinations.

“This is a good result when you consider revenues from Turkey, where we are market leaders, fell by almost 50 per cent versus the prior year,” Mr Fankhauser said, adding: “Our revenue also benefited from the stronger euro, when we translated our euro earnings back into sterling.” 

Underlying operating profit of £308m was broadly flat on the £310m it made last year.

That result was ahead of an analyst forecast of £296m after its British and Scandinavian businesses performed more strongly than expected.

Less encouraging was the fact a £10m operating loss at its German airline which turned a profit of £66m a year ago.

Thomas Cook shares closed up 7 per cent at 78.5p when the markets closedas investors were heartened by reassurances that the company was on track for profit growth of 6 per cent to £326m.

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