Travel slump knocks Hogg's profits

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The Independent Online
HOGG Robinson yesterday blamed the recession for its decision to get out of the leisure travel business.

The financial services group, which recently sold its consumer travel agencies to Airtours for pounds 25m, said margins had come under pressure as consumers cut back on spending and the industry responded by introducing hefty discounting.

The poor performance of Hogg's travel business depressed 1993 profits, which fell 12 per cent to pounds 13.3m in the year to March, despite a record performance from the group's two other main divisions.

Profits at the travel division dived to pounds 2.1m from pounds 4.5m. 'Market structures are such that there was little prospect of making acceptable profits from our leisure travel business,' Brian Perry, chairman, said.

But operating profits on continuing businesses, excluding the consumer travel agencies, rose from pounds 11m to pounds 11.4m, on the back of sales up from pounds 125m to pounds 142m.

Profits from financial services rose 12 per cent to pounds 5.2m, while those from the transport division were up 29 per cent to pounds 6m.

Mr Perry said Hogg was now more focused as a business services company. 'This will identify us more closely with our listing in this sector,' he said.

The company is increasing its final dividend from 3.8p to 4p, making 6.6p (6.3p). The shares rose 4p to 200p.