The Courier-Mail

App adds to CTM record profit

- GLENGL NORRIS

A RIDE-SHARING app for bu business travellers stuck in airp port taxi queues is among the te technologi­es that helped Corporate Travel Management post record annual earnings.

Brisbane-based CTM said y yesterday that statutory net profit climbed 75 per cent to $29.1 million, boosted by clients using its proprietar­y technology and internatio­nal acquisitio­ns.

Underlying net profit rose 76 per cent to $30.4 million while revenue gained 79 per cent to $197.9 million.

CTM managing director Jamie Pherous said seamless travel that allowed customers to track flights, hotel bookings and other arrangemen­ts through smart phones was in demand by travellers.

“They don’t want to rely on a last-minute phone call to their personal assistant or travel agent,” Mr Pherous said. “Technology is an enhancer for us but we also provide the service if people want to pick up a phone and talk to some- one.” He said the idea for the taxi sharing app came from a customer who was tired of 50 staff members arriving in a city and taking separate cabs.

The app allows people to see if their colleagues are at the airport at the same time and share a taxi. The app has had more than 10,000 individual uses since being launched less than 12 months ago.

Mr Pherous said 40,000 customers now used the company’s SMART portal, a suite of proprietar­y technologi­es that included booking, travel alert and approval systems.

Internatio­nal operations will become increasing­ly important for CTM after a series of global acquisitio­ns. In the past three years, CTM has bought companies in the US and Asia, including Hong Kong-based Westminste­r Travel. Last November it bought London-based Chambers Travel and Washington DC-based Diplomat Travel for a combined $52.6 million.

About half of the company’s profits now come from overseas and that is expected to rise to 60 per cent this year. “The lower dollar is helping and we are looking at further acquisitio­n opportunit­ies,” he said. “We are spoilt for choice.”

Mr Pherous said he was not concerned about a possible slowdown in China as the market was large and untapped. Bookings in China have gone up 50 per cent since April.

The company announced a fully franked final dividend of 10¢ a share, an increase of 33 per cent over the previous period. The shares closed 8¢ higher at $10.67.

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