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.


Aramco chief sees demand for oil staying above 100m barrels

Updated 23 January 2020

Aramco chief sees demand for oil staying above 100m barrels

  • A panel on the global energy outlook at the WEF in Davos heard that renewable energy alone would not be able to meet rising demand for power as more people moved into the middle class
  • The panel also heard that coal, not oil, remained the biggest source of carbon emissions

DAVOS: Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said he expected global oil demand to stay above the 100 million barrels threshold as the rise of the global middle class spurred demand for energy.
A panel on the global energy outlook at the World Economic Forum in Davos heard that renewable energy alone would not be able to meet rising demand for power as more people moved into the middle class.
“There will be additional demand and the only way to meet it is if you continue to provide affordable, reliable and viable energy to the rest of the world,” said the Aramco CEO.
“There is good penetration from renewables and electric cars are picking up however you need to consider what is happening in the world. There are still an additional 2 billion people coming. There are currently 3 billion people using biomass, animal dung, kerosene for cooking and there are 1 billion people today without electricity and almost 50 percent of people have never flown in an aeroplane.”
The panel heard that coal, not oil, remained the biggest source of carbon emissions but that the location of many coal-fired power plants in developing Asian economies meant that reducing its impact was a major challenge.
“The number one source of emissions by far is the coal fire power plants – they alone are responsible for one third of emissions,” said International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol. “But they are in many cases the number one source of electricity generation in low income countries - so this is not a black and white issue.”