TUI profits beat expectations

Europe's biggest tour operator TUI Travel reported an 18 per cent rise in full-year profit, ahead of expectations, benefiting from increased sales of holidays to resorts it exclusively operates and an upturn in bookings online.

The group, which operates the Thomson and First Choice chains, said operating profit for the year to 30 September was £471m.

The average forecast had stood at £461m according to a poll of analysts.

TUI Travel's arch rival Thomas Cook has endured a torrid 2011 and faces an uncertain future as it battles to regain the confidence of holidaymakers and investors after securing a rescue package from its lenders.