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Share jump and brand adjustment from Flight Centre

February 23, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Flight Centre has posted a positive half-yearly result, leading to a jump in its share price yesterday – and at the same time it has announced brand changes to its EscapeTravel and Cruiseabout stores.

In a “fresh makeover”, these will adopt either the Flight Centre brand or take on the identity of premium specialist brand, Travel Associates.

Flight Centre released a brief video to explain the brand change to consumers. It assures customers there will be no change to bookings and the only change they will notice in their trusted consultant is their business card.

Meanwhile, Flight Centre yesterday reported a pre-tax profit of AUD 139.4 million for the six months to December 2017, up 23.2% from the same time last year.

The result, which was above the guidance of AUD 120-135 million, sent the share price soaring as the company upwardly revised its full-year forecasts for the 2018 financial year.

Flight Centre shares leapt by up to 15% in early trade, falling back later to about 10% higher at AUD 54.40.

The full-year guidance is now AUD 360 million PBT (profit before tax).

Managing director Graham Turner said the company had started the year well and had developed solid foundations for financial year 2018.

Google Finance tracking of Flight Centre share price over five days shows a leap at yesterday’s half-yearly results

“Generally, we can be pleased with our performance to date, given that we are tracking at or near record levels in most key financial areas,” Turner said.

“We have also made sound progress in executing operational strategies and transformation initiatives that have been developed to fast-track revenue growth and curb costs.”

In addition to the record first-half sales and slightly higher than expected pre-tax profit, Turner noted the following key achievements during the period:

  • Net margin improvement (profit before tax as a percentage of total transaction volume, or TTV), as Flight Centre’s transformation initiatives and other improvement strategies gained traction.
  • Productivity growth, with TTV growth significantly outpacing network growth.
  • Better cost control – cost growth during the first half was the lowest since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2009; and
  • Enhanced shareholder returns, underpinned by 37% earnings per share growth, a record-equalling interim dividend and a 46% total shareholder return during the 2017 calendar year.

Flight Centre in Queen Street Brisbane

In addition, Turner said, Flight Centre has just completed its new in-store system (GDS) roll-out, with deployment in the Australian and New Zealand leisure businesses bringing the two-and-a-half global project to an end. He called the system change the largest deployment undertaken in Australia to date, with almost 7000 leisure consultants migrated onto the new GDS (Sabre in Australia and New Zealand) over a five-month period.”

Turner continued:

“In Australia and New Zealand, we are well placed to grow in the corporate sector, given the positive first-half momentum.

“SME specialist Corporate Traveller is also geared for further growth with refreshed branding and an enhanced expert technology suite, which now includes CT GO, a new online booking platform that can be implemented in less than 15 minutes.

“While new in-store systems are now fully deployed, further short-term disruption is possible in the Australia leisure business while the new market-share growth plan is implemented.

“Strategies are in place to minimise any negative impacts from this plan in the short-term before the longer-term benefits are gained.

“FLT also expects further market growth globally as the Golden Era of Travel continues.”

Written by Peter Needham

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