Thomas Cook lifts half-year dividend by 15 per cent

Thursday 03 April 2014 03:30

The tour operator Thomas Cook has enjoyed an uptick in customers booking their summer holidays over the past three weeks, revealing strong demand for all-inclusive trips and holidays to Egypt and Turkey.

Thomas Cook said it had reduced its losses by 15.6 per cent to £110.9m during the first half to 31 March, when tour operators typically post losses. Reflecting its resilient performance, the tour operator delivered a 15.4 per cent uplift in its first-half dividend and said it expects to meet full-year forecasts. Its average selling price for summer holidays to UK customers was up by 9 per cent.

For the three weeks to 10 May, Thomas Cook's sales, excluding holidays to swine flu-affected Mexico, were down by 10 per cent, in line with its reduction in capacity, and an improvement on the 12 per cent fall in sales since the start of its financial year on 1 October. Sales of all-inclusive summer holidays are up by 18 per cent on last year, as customers manage their budgets more carefully. Its half-year revenues grew by 12.6 per cent to £3.49bn.

Speculation that Arcandor, which owns 53 per cent of Thomas Cook, may seek up to €700m in German state aid contributed to the tour operator's shares falling by 18p to 228.25p.

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