Analysts expect 'little improvement' after Cook profit warning

Analysts expect 'little improvement' after Cook profit warning

City analysts have reacted to Thomas Cook’s profit warning with downbeat forecasts for the company’s prospects in 2012.

With little sign of political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East improving, consumer demand weak and oil prices high, there may be “little reason” to assume Thomas Cook will see a pick up in 2012, said UBS.

Barclays Leisure described today’s trading statement as “clearly disappointing”.

It said: “With limited potential for a major improvement in the UK economy next year we expect little improvement in 2012.”

There could also be a knock-on effect on Thomas Cook's rival Tui Travel, although some of the issues highlighted today are seen as company-specific.

As Thomas Cook shares plummeted on the London Stock Exchange, also putting pressure on Tui shares, Citi predicted that the UK business review would include a review of how aircraft are used while reducing the “risk profile” of the British division, which represents more than a third of total sales.

UBS said it expects a significant weakness in Cook shares.

Panmure Gordon said: “Recent weakness in the share price suggest all was not well at Thomas Cook and whilst some of its problems are clearly generic to all tour operators, we do believe there are some company-specific issues, particularly in the UK business.”

It added: “There are clearly some good businesses within Thomas Cook and the group has been impacted by external factors but we believe that until the company-specific UK problems are resolved the shares will under-perform.”

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