Travel firm Kuoni helped by its move away from central Europe

Marion Dakers
UPMARKET travel group Kuoni narrowed its losses in the first half of the year as it said bon voyage to its continental Europe tour operations.

Swiss-listed Kuoni, which has been expanding its British presence this year, posted a net loss of SFr47.4m (£32.8m), from SFr51.2m a year ago.

Turnover was flat at SFr2.6bn, which the firm said was partly due to the exit from its loss-making tour operator businesses in France, Italy and Belgium. Organic turnover rose 2.2 per cent, it added.

Kuoni’s independent travel packages proved popular, with revenues up 6.8 per cent to SFr828m. Group travel, however, fell 4.4 per cent to SFr431m.

“Our focus on global destination and accommodation services, sustainably profitable tour operator business and visa processing services contributed significantly to an improvement in operating earnings in the first half of 2013,” said interim chief executive Peter Meier.

Kuoni processed 22 per cent more visa applications in the period through its VFS Global unit, whose revenues rose 18.2 per cent to SFr117m.

VFS handles the administrative parts of visa applications on behalf of the Indian and Russian governments as well as for non-Europeans visiting the Schengen area.