The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR TELEGRAPH - By Paul Grin­nell paul.grin­[email protected]­me­ Twit­ter: @PTPaulGrin­nell

Peter­bor­ough-based travel op­er­a­tor Thomas Cook has plunged into the red with losses to­talling £163 mil­lion.

The hol­i­day gi­ant, which em­ploys more than 1,000 peo­ple at West­point, Lynch Wood, has blamed the pro­longed hot weather in Europe, un­ex­pected charges and dis­count­ing for its losses.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Fankhauser said: “2018 was a dis­ap­point­ing year for Thomas Cook. “Look­ing ahead, we must learn the les­sons from 2018 and go into the new year fo­cused on where we can make a dif­fer­ence to cus­tomers in our core hol­i­day of­fer­ing.”

Its an­nual re­sults for the year to the end of Septem­ber, show that while the com­pany’s rev­enue rose by six per cent to £9.6 bil­lion, it still made a loss after tax of £163 mil­lion com­pared to a £9 mil­lion profit the pre­vi­ous year.

The com­pany’s debt has also widened from £40 mil­lion to £389 mil­lion.

It has also scrapped div­i­dend pay­ments to share­hold­ers.

The com­pany’s share price slipped by one per cent fol­low­ing the re­lease of its re­sults.

Ear­lier, the com­pany took in­vestors by sur­prise by is­su­ing a prof­its warn­ing just a few days ahead of the pub­li­ca­tion of its an­nual trad­ing fig­ures.

It was the com­pany’s sec­ond prof­its warn­ing in two months.

Mr Fankhauser said: “After a good start to the year, we ex­pe­ri­enced a larger-than-an­tic­i­pated de­cline in gross mar­gin fol­low­ing the pro­longed pe­riod of hot weather in our key sum­mer trad­ing pe­riod.

But he added: “We have achieved some im­por­tant mile­stones in our strat­egy for trans­form­ing the busi­ness.”

Thomas Cook chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Fankhauser.

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