Thomas Cook’s EBIT improves

Thomas Cook has also introduced new aircraft
Thomas Cook has also introduced new aircraft

Thomas Cook has sold Gold Medal off to dnata as the UK-based company unveiled a boost in underlying EBIT this morning.

Long-haul flight specialist Gold Medal has been sold to Dubai-based dnata for GBP45 million with the transaction due to be completed around 27 February.

dnata is part of the Emirates Group and will continue to act as an exclusive supplier of long-haul scheduled flights to Thomas Cook’s businesses in the UK.

Under the deal dnata has also gained control of and Pure Luxury.

Harriet Green, group CEO of Thomas Cook Group said the recent sale, along with those of Elegant Resorts and Neilson, was “another important step in the transformation of our UK business”.

“It brings the total amount generated by our divestitures programme to £125 million, thereby achieving our previously communicated target of £100m – £150m in divestitures by the end of FY15, and thus demonstrating that we continue to deliver on our commitments, in this case, 18 months prior to our target date,” she explained.

Iain Andrew, divisional senior vice president of dnata’s travel business said: “dnata’s growth strategy aligns well with Gold Medal Travel Group — its comprehensive travel services complement dnata’s established international travel offering, and will further enhance the proposition we offer our customers be it to trade, corporates or individuals.”

The sale comes as Thomas Cook continues with its turnaround plans, posting a GBP10 million improvement on its underlying EBIT although still posting a loss of GBP56 million for the fourth quarter of 2013.

Its net debt has been reduced from GBP1.55bn in 2012 to GBP1.28bn by December 2013 with its underlying EBIT up 36% on a last 12-month rolling basis.

Bookings in line with expectations and at the same levels as last year, with summer bookings for the company’s ‘concept’ hotels are up 42% year-on-year and summer city break holidays up 12%.

Around 36% of its bookings are taken online, while its stores are now aligned under the website booking system.

“Our Q1 results, new product revenue growth, web integration, cost out and profit improvement programmes combined with an intense business focus and financial discipline, all underpinned by the Thomas Cook Business System, give us confidence of achieving our targets and delivering even more value in the years to come,” said Green on the results.

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