All Leisure Group almost halved pre-tax losses last year to £7.2 million from £13.6 million in 2013 despite total passenger numbers falling by 5%.
The improvement came despite £1.9 million of lower earnings due to the crisis in Crimea and Ukraine which led to three cruises having to be re-scheduled.
The political situation in Egypt also hit the group’s tour operating performance, causing sales of the Discover Egypt brand to fall by £1.2 million.
The overall loss was described as being largely due to a £7.1 million loss on the disposal of the ship Discovery for $5 million in October.
Overall cruise passengers rose by 10% to almost 17,885 while tour operations passengers were down from 44,286 to 39,762 in the year. The group’s average revenue per passenger grew 2.7% to £2,410 in the year.
Consolidation of the cruise and tour operating businesses to a single head office in Market Harborough resulted in £2.3 million-worth of selling and administration cost savings in addition to £1 million disclosed in the previous year.
The overall tour operating business continues to operate profitably and enjoys a strong following from its loyal customer base, the company said.
Chairman Roger Allard described the outlook for 2015 as remaining “challenging” as the UK economy continues its slow recovery.
“The rationalisation work that has been carried out over the last few years will continue to benefit the results, as we have a leaner cost base and a more focused organisation,” he said.
“Lower fuel prices will also help the group to contain its costs, although our marine fuel requirements are circa 50% hedged for the coming year at higher prices and the full benefit of current fuel pricing will therefore not be realised until 2016.
“Furthermore, the variability of marine fuel price is limited by the fixed costs of processing and transport inherent in the product.
“The currency outlook is a mixed picture for 2015; the weaker euro is expected to stimulate demand for European tours in particular, whilst the current strength of the US dollar against sterling is expected to make our popular US tour destinations less attractive to UK consumers and will impact dollar-denominated fuel and destination costs.”
Reviewing 2014, he said the group has continued its work to consolidate the former All Leisure Group and Page & Moy into one business.
“This work, together with the further strengthening of the management team, has created an organisation that is fit for the future with effective leadership and a lean, cost-effective structure,” said Allard.
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