Hogg Robinson in boost as business travel takes off

 
City A.M. Reporter
CORPORATE travel firm Hogg Robinson shrugged off the latest volcanic ash cloud to hit Europe and unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, saying yesterday that short-term travel disruption was often good for business.

“We don’t see this having any impact on our business at all. Whenever travel plans have to change, that creates work for us, and this inevitably means that we create some additional revenues from that,” finance director Julian Steadman said.

Steadman’s comments came as the firm predicted 10 per cent operating profit growth this year thanks to a rebound in demand for business travel and posted slightly better than expected results, helping send its shares up as much as seven per cent before closing up 2.2 per cent at 59.3p.

The company posted a 16 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profit for the year to the end of March to £32.9m on revenue of £358m, up 10 per cent. Client travel transaction activity was up 17 per cent in the year, while travel spend grew 23 per cent.

“We are comfortable with the numbers in the market ... They are generally looking at about a five per cent increase in revenue, with nearly two times that in terms of operating profit increase,” Steadman added.

Hogg Robinson, which was established in 1845 and whose customers include the Ministry of Defence and German carmaker Volkswagen, also raised its final dividend 25 per cent. Steadman also said the company was looking at small acquisitions in its core travel business.