TUI profits rise despite uncertainty

TUI TRAVEL has delivered another blow to its struggling rival Thomas Cook, delivering profits and a dividend rise despite the tough market.

The company, which has the Thomson and First Choice brands, reported pre-tax profits of £144m in the year to 30 September.

Chief executive Peter Long said the company’s expertise was “second to none” in a thinly disguised swipe at rival Thomas Cook, whose share price has plummeted in recent months.

He attributed his company’s relative success to providing exclusive holiday deals while developing online sales to keep pace with changing customer trends. Long suggested that Thomas Cook and other rivals were being hit by the stretched budgets of families looking for cheap deals. Long added: “We have had a robust performance in difficult markets. We sell unique holidays and that is proving a real attraction.”

The company’s performance in the Nordic regions was especially strong while political upheaval in North Africa took its toll on sales to French holidaymakers, who traditionally visit the region. A final dividend of 8p per share was proposed, bringing the full year pay out to 11.3p per share – three per cent up.