Turnaround plan makes it sunnier for Thomas Cook

 

Thomas Cook showed tentative signs of recovery today after several months in the doldrums.

The world’s oldest travel group claimed its turnaround plan was going to schedule as losses narrowed to £69.8 million during the last three months of 2012, compared with  £91.1 million a year earlier.

The 172-year-old group has struggled over the past few years with falling sales leading to a string of profit warnings. It has been forced to renegotiate bank loans and make disposals to cut debt.

Analysts say the company has made steady progress since Harriet Green took over as chief executive last May. Under her stewardship, it has made a number of disposals to cut debt, including the sale of its Indian business and several Spanish hotels.

Sales for summer holidays were up 4% compared with 2012 while bookings in January were ahead 2%.

“We have seen stronger operating performances in our major markets — the UK, Germany and the Nordics,” Green said. “Although global economic conditions and consumer confidence remain challenged, our business transformation is firmly  on track.”

Meanwhile, rival TUI Travel said it expects to deliver full-year profit at the top end of forecasts as its losses fell by £16 million to £93 million during the fourth quarter. It said summer bookings were up 9% in the UK and 10% in the Nordics region.

Chief executive Peter Long said: “Across all our key markets demand for the overseas holiday remains strong, despite the overall economic environment.”

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