Thomas Cook grows revenue and bookings as it unveils cheery outlook

Caitlin Morrison
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A branch of Thomas Cook is pictured in B
Thomas Cook shares dipped this morning

Thomas Cook has reported an increase in bookings and revenue over the first quarter of the financial year.

The figures

In the three months to 31 December, revenues increased by seven per cent to £1.75bn.

Gross profit was up £16m to £376m, while the gross margin of 21.5 per cent was down by 50 basis points compared to the same period of the previous year.

Net debt at 31 December was £1.3bn, an increase of £71m over the year.

Bookings overall were up eight per cent.

Shares were down more than two per cent in early trading.

Why it's interesting

This time last year, Thomas Cook was dealing with the impact of terror attacks in Belgium and Turkey, which contributed to a volatile year of trading and prompted a cautious outlook for the group.

However, today the company said trading for 2018 "so far is encouraging", and it expects full year results to be in line with expectations. In part, Thomas Cook said, this was due to continued recovery in its German airline, Condor.

Meanwhile, noting that net debt had widened in the first quarter, the firm said this was largely due to non-recurring payments totalling £88m to The Co-operative Group - in 2016, Thomas Cook agreed to buy the Co-op out of its joint venture. Excluding these payments, and the effects of currency change, net debt improved by £65m, the group said.

What Thomas Cook said

"While it remains early in our sales cycle, we've got the year off to a good start. From all that we see so far, customers' appetite for a summer holiday abroad shows no sign of slowing down," said chief executive Peter Frankhauser.

"This remains a highly competitive - and, at times, unpredictable - market, as the disruption in the airlines sector in recent months demonstrates. However, based on current trading and the continued progress we are making on implementing our customer-focused strategy for profitable growth, we expect to deliver a performance in line with current expectations for the full year."

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