CRUISE operator All Leisure Group almost halved pre-tax losses last year to £7.2m from £13.6m a year earlier, despite a five per cent fall in passenger numbers and a hit from unrest in Crimea, Ukraine and Egypt.
The company said the warfare in Ukraine knocked earnings by £1.9m, as it had to reschedule three cruises. Meanwhile sales for the Discover Egypt brand fell by £1.2m because of the troubled situation in Egypt. A £7.1m charge was also booked against the disposal of cruise ship Discovery.
The number of passengers rose by 10 per cent 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 per cent to £2,410 in the year.
Chairman Roger Allard said: “This was a creditable performance given some of the headwinds that we faced in 2013-2014, the most significant of which was the crisis in Crimea and Ukraine. Here we had no option but to make late changes to our three scheduled Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean itineraries, cruises that are normally amongst our most profitable. The changes resulted in substantial cancellations and subsequent discounting to fill capacity.”
Looking ahead, he said: “The outlook for 2015 remains 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. 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.”