Hogg Robinson sees boost from recovery

CORPORATE travel firm Hogg Robinson yesterday reported first-half profit more than doubled, adding its full-year outlook would see it finish ahead of market expectations.

The firm said operating profit was £19.5m, up 73 per cent, from £11.3m last year, with an improving economy boosting business travel.

Revenue was up nine per cent from £155.3m last year to £169.2m at the end of September. Meanwhile, pre-tax profit stood at £15.3m, more than double last year’s £7.5m.

Hogg said both client spending and travel bookings were up 18 per cent in real terms in the six months to 30 September compared to a year earlier, reflecting strengthening confidence amongst many of its business travel clients. Net new client wins included Aviva, Avon and Grant Thornton.

Hogg said there was now “firm evidence” of an emerging recovery in corporate travel. Passenger demand – a reflection of business and consumer confidence – was 10.1 per cent higher in October than a year earlier, and is now five per cent above pre-crisis levels, airline industry body the International Air Transport Association said last week.

Hogg Robinson’s finance director Julian Steadman said: “With the strong client base behind us returning to normal, we are flagging to the market that expectations for the full-year will be slightly ahead of what they thought it would be before.”