Over-50s specialist Saga said it was on track to return to profits today as it continues its recovery from a pandemic slump.
In a trading update on the five months to 4th July, bosses said they expect the firm to generate underlying pre-tax profits of £35-50m for the year ahead, in line with analyst expectations and up from a pre-tax loss of £7m last year.
Speaking ahead of the firm’s annual general meeting today, Boss Euan Sutherland, said the group had made strong headway in “a particularly challenging external environment”.
“We have continued to adapt our Insurance business to meet the evolving needs of our customers, most recently through the development of new products, providing them with greater flexibility and choice,” he said.
“Meanwhile, our Travel business is continuing to make progress as we emerge from the pandemic.”
Saga’s cruise business recorded a booking rate of 73 per cent, with an expected full year load rate of around 75 per cent and an “exceptionally strong booked load factor over the summer”, the firm said today.
Insurance sales have slowed however, with total policy sales across all products 2 per cent behind the prior year.
Travel insurance policy sales bounced back to pre-pandemic levels in June but sales of motor and home policies for five months ended 30th June lagged four per cent behind 31 January levels and slumped nine per cent on the same period last year due to decline in new business.
Sutherland said the firm was now looking to push ahead with into sustainable growth this year and cement the recovery from the pandemic.
“This plan will see us focused on maximising our existing businesses, reducing our debt while step-changing our ability to scale the business and positioning Saga as the superbrand for older people,” he said.
Saga is also looking to deliver a boost to its share price, which has weathered a torrid time on the markets since the onset of the pandemic. Shares are currently trading down 73 per cent on their price in February 2020.