UK travel group Thomas Cook issues profit warning

Thomas Cook company said consumer uncertainty from factors such as Brexit was causing competitive pressure. (Reuters)
Updated 16 May 2019

UK travel group Thomas Cook issues profit warning

  • The oldest travel company in the world stumbled badly last year when a heatwave in northern Europe deterred holiday makers from booking lucrative last-minute deals
  • Thomas Cook company said consumer uncertainty from factors such as Brexit was causing competitive pressure

LONDON: Travel group Thomas Cook said economic and political uncertainty would affect profits this summer after it reported higher first-half losses on Thursday, adding it had received multiple bids for its airline unit after it was put up for sale.
The oldest travel company in the world stumbled badly last year when a heatwave in northern Europe deterred holiday makers from booking lucrative last-minute deals, leading to two major profit warnings and talk of a need to raise funds.
The company said it made an underlying loss before interest and tax of $315 million (£245 million) in the six months to March 31, compared with a loss of £65 million in the same period a year earlier, reflecting pressure on margins.
It forecast second-half underlying earnings before interest and tax would be below the same period last year, and that it had agreed a £300 million bank facility to provide more liquidity for the 2019/20 winter season.
“Trading for the Group has been challenging to date, reflecting an uncertain consumer environment which has led to a slower pace of bookings across all markets,” it said.
Thomas Cook company said consumer uncertainty from factors such as Brexit was causing competitive pressure, meaning it was having to spend more on promotional activity.
In February, the firm said it was willing to sell its profitable airline business to raise cash to fund its fight back from losses racked up in 2018 and to cope with a tough year ahead.
It said on Thursday it had received multiple bids for all and part of Group Airline, which consists of Germany’s Condor, as well as British, Scandinavian and Spanish divisions.
Lufthansa has said it wants to buy Condor with an option to acquire the remaining airlines, while Virgin Atlantic is also reportedly interested in the UK-based long-haul part of the business.
Thomas Cook added it had taken an impairment of £1.1 billion relating to a 2007 merger with MyTravel.


Gulf Marine CEO quits after review sparks profit warning

Updated 22 August 2019

Gulf Marine CEO quits after review sparks profit warning

  • Tensions in the Arabian Gulf, a worrisome global growth outlook and uncertainty over oil prices have recently dampened investor confidence

DUBAI: Gulf Marine Services said on Wednesday Chief Executive Officer Duncan Anderson has resigned as the oilfield industry contractor warned a reassessment of its ships and contracts showed profit would fall this year, kicking its shares 12 percent down.

The Abu Dhabi-based offshore services specialist said a review by new finance chief Stephen Kersley of its large E-class vessels operating in Northwest Europe and the Middle East pointed to 2019 core earnings of between $45 million and $48 million, below $58 million that it reported last year.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Anderson, who has served as CEO for 12 years, was asked to step down. Anderson could not be reached for comment.

The company, which in the past predominantly operated in the UAE, expanded operations and deployed large vessels in the North Sea and Saudi Arabia nine years ago and listed its shares in London in 2014.

Tensions in the Arabian Gulf, a worrisome global growth outlook and uncertainty over oil prices have recently dampened investor confidence.

The North Sea has seen a revival in production in recent years due to new fields coming on line and improved performance by operators following the 2014 oil price collapse.

Still, the basin’s production is expected to decline over the next decade, according to Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority.

“(The CFO’s) review has coincided with a pause in renewables-related self-propelled self-elevating support vessels activity in the North Sea, which will impact several of the higher day-rate E-Class vessels,” Investec wrote in a note.

Gulf Marine appointed industry veteran Kersley as chief financial officer in late May as it sought to halt a slide which has seen the company’s shares fall nearly 80 percent last year and another 23 percent so far this year.

The company said market conditions remained challenging and that it was still in talks with its financial advisors regarding a new capital structure.

“Management, the new board and the group’s advisors, have been in negotiation with the group’s banks on resetting its capital structure and progress has been made,” it said in a statement.

Last year, Gulf Marine said contracts were delayed into 2019 as the company was seen to be in breach of certain banking covenants at the end of 2018.

The company said it was still in talks with its banks and individual lenders with hopes of getting a waiver or an agreement to amend the concerned covenants.