Kuoni Group’s UK operations saw an improved performance last year although the overall net profit for the Swiss travel company declined.
“Despite travel warnings for important destinations in Kenya and Thailand, the UK market generated higher earnings,” the group reported today.
Kuoni UK saw operating earnings rise by CHF 1 million from 2013 to CHF 9 million last year with a gross profit up to CHF 77.9 million from CHF 74.4 million a year earlier. Turnover for the UK arm was up to CHF 409.8 million from CHF 402.1 million in 2013.
The overall group saw net profits drop from CHF 69.2 million to CHF 67.4 million based on a slightly reduced turnover of CHF 5.5 billion.
Releasing 2014 financial results, group chief executive Peter Meier gave little indication of the progress being made on previously announced plans to sell its tour operating businesses, which include Kuoni UK.
"The implementation of the new strategic direction announced in 2015 is going according to plan,” he said.
“Kuoni Group is now concentrating on its core business as a service provider to the global travel industry and governments, as well as on strategic initiatives designed to accelerate growth and increase profitability.
“Kuoni Group has therefore decided to sell its tour operating activities. Despite the challenging business environment, turnover in financial year 2014 was stable compared to prior year in organic terms.
“Two of our core activities – Global Travel Distribution (GTD), formerly FIT, and [visa services provider] VFS Global – posted positive organic growth, especially in Asian source markets. Net result was similar to 2013."
GTD reported turnover up by 8.8% in 2014 and exceeded 13 million worldwide hotel room nights booked for the first time. VFS Global posted organic turnover growth of 13.9% and a 30.6% increase in earnings [EBIT].
Looking forward to the years 2015 to 2017, Kuoni Group said it aims to achieve annual growth “significantly higher” than the 3.8% industry growth rate forecast by the UN World Tourism Organisation based on its three divisions - Global Travel Distribution, Global Travel Services and VFS Global.
The group will next report on its business performance at a capital markets day on June 11 followed by the release of its half year report on August 21 and nine-month business update on November 5.
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