Sunny prospects for Thomas Cook as it delivers a profit

Things are starting to look up for Thomas Cook as the travel company saw an operating profit for the first time since 2010, as the first year of its turnaround plan starts to take off. Shares have rocketed this morning on the news, up over 11 per cent, putting it at the top of the FTSE 250 risers.

Underlying operating profit was up by 49 per cent to £263m. Chief executive Harriet Green, for whom this was her first full year in charge, said: "We've taken out more cost more quickly than originally planned. The balance sheet has been strengthened; the £1.6 billion recapitalisation has been completed, maturities extended and we have almost halved our net debt."

Loss before tax improved over the financial year by 53.1 per cent, to £158m from £337m. The company reduced its net debt by £367m to £421m, through improved cash flow, and saw its credit ratings with Fitch and Standard and Poor's upped.

It confirmed that it's reduced its number of high street retail outlets in the year from 1,101 to 874.

Green added that the firm's three key targets for 2015 (wave 1) would be increased, and that its new wave 2 cost savings and profit improvement targets were in place for 2018, of the "same magnitude" as wave 1.