Scottish travel group Minoan trimmed pre-tax losses from £1.182 million to £1.036 million in the year to October 2014.
This came despite an increase of £253,000 in a charge relating to share-based payments. Gross profit for the 12 months was up by about 10% from £5.2 million to £5.7 million.
Total transaction value and gross profit for Minoan’s travel and leisure division for the new financial year are cumulatively ahead year-on-year by more than 15%.
The group has also won approval from Greek authorities for its long-term plans to build a resort in Crete.
A presidential decree now needs to be signed by relevant ministers and the president to allow work to start on the project.
Discussions with joint venture partners and others have been ongoing and are expected to accelerate following the presidential decree being issued.
The group said it is “well-positioned to reap the benefits of the excellent progress made in securing final approval for the Crete project and of the buoyant trading performance of its travel and leisure business”, which includes Stewart Travel, John Semple Travel and King World Travel.
Looking forward, Minoan chairman Christopher Egleton described the group’s travel business as enjoying the best start to a trading year in its history.
“The coming months promise to be very exciting for the group, its shareholders, directors and staff and I look forward to making further announcements in the near future,” he said.
Reviewing the past year, Egleton said: “Significant advances were made across both divisions over the past financial year leaving the group in an enhanced position to further expand its operations and bring to fruition its Crete project.
“The travel and leisure division’s acquisition and brand integration strategy are driving a strong trading performance, underpinned by margin growth, which is boosting gross profit and provides a strong platform for planned further expansion to transform the division into a robust international leisure and travel business.
“The group has never been closer to realising its ambitions in respect of the project. The issuance of the presidential decree will not only generate immediate value but will also allow the group to implement its plans to develop an environmentally respectful, world-class tourist resort.
“This should have a long-term positive impact and would be a significant asset for the Greek tourist industry, which the new government has championed as a key part of the economy.
“Given these developments, the group looks forward to realising the benefits of the substantial progress made, both through an improved trading performance and in terms of boosting shareholder value.”
He added: “With regard to the current year, in a market generally reported in the trade as flat, Stewart Travel is enjoying the best start to the year in its history.
“All subdivisions are showing healthy rises in both revenue and gross profit. From the beginning of the new financial year total transaction value and gross profit are cumulatively ahead year-on-year in excess of 15%.
“Finally, since the year end new travel bureaux have been opened in Nottingham and Belfast.”
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