Thomas Cook profits halve

Thomas Cook this morning said operating profit for the year to 30 September fell by 49 per cent to £156m. The company largely blamed the slump on higher fuel costs.

Despite this the venerable travel group said it was optimistic about its performance in recent months.

"These results reflect the major issues that Thomas Cook faced last year, but they mask the material improvement that we made in the fourth quarter," said chief executive Harriet Green.

"Our brand has demonstrated its strength by recovering all the ground lost during last year's difficulties and we have identified significant further efficiency improvements."

Net debt fell by £103m to £788m and the firm said it has carried over 23m customers in the last year.

Underlying revenue dropped slightly to £9.49bn.