Acromas boss dismisses company split speculation

Acromas boss dismisses company split speculation

Saga and Titan Travel parent company Acromas Holdings reported a loss of £574.8 million in the year to January, up 13.6% on the previous year.

Turnover was up by 6.4% to £2.25 billion, according to latest full-year accounts for the group, which also includes the AA.

Roadside services saw sales rise marginally from £676.1 million to £681 million, while travel saw sales rise from £345.5 million to £353.3 million. Financial services rose 1.2% to £771 million.

The travel division grew its turnover by £7.8 million, or 2.3%, but reported an operating loss of £6.9 million.

This was attributed to “industrial and technical issues” which delayed the launch of the new ship to the Saga fleet.

There were also issues on some unrelated third party engine maintenance on a sister ship.

These factors “significantly impacted” the bottom line performance of the division, down £12 million from an operating profit of £5.1 million in the previous year.

Group operating profit rose 5.3% to £547.9 million while adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) was up by 4.9% to £620.8 million.

The company said the operating profit became a reported loss of £574.8 million after paying interest of £199.4 million in cash – but principally due to non-cash items such as amortisation of goodwill (£322.9 million), the notional interest paid on shareholder loans of £490.1 million and other non-cash interest of £56.9 million.

Chief executive Andrew Goodsell, quoted by the Daily Telegraph, dismissed earlier reports that Acromas was preparing to sell the AA to trade investors for as much as £5 billion and float Saga on the London Stock Exchange.

He said that “no decisions” had been taken about the future of either brand following the group’s recent £3 billion refinancing.

In his annual review, Goodsell said: “In defiance of the overall decline in the travel market, Saga’s travel business impressively posted an increase in turnover with both the Saga and Titan brands performing well.

“The Saga Sapphire, which launched in spring 2012, has become a fitting new flagship for the Saga cruise fleet and is achieving outstanding quality scores.

“Which? Magazine named Saga as one of the top three beach and seaside holiday providers in 2012 and in the 50+ awards we were voted the best overseas travel company.”

Introduction of the £65 million Saga Sapphire meant that the company has invested £130 million in the fleet since 2007.

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