Wednesday 24 January 2018

Club Travel not fazed by heatwave blip in bookings

Children having fun in Skerries in north County Dublin at the beech.
Children having fun in Skerries in north County Dublin at the beech.

Gordon Deegan

The recent heatwave resulted in "a noticeable drop" in holiday bookings at the country's largest travel agency. The news came a day after Ryanair's profits slid as the airline said more people chose to stay at home.

Club Travel boss Liam Lonergan said there was a noticeable drop in booking over the last five weeks, but added that the vast majority of booking would have been made before the hot spell.

Mr Lonergan said the impact on revenues for the year "will be relatively insignificant".

"The heatwave did affect us, but we are talking five weeks out of 50 weeks and it occurred during the holiday period and not the booking period," he added.

Mr Lonergan was commenting on new accounts filed by Club Travel with the Companies Office that show that pre-tax profits at the firm last year increased by 12.5pc to €4.42m. Revenues increased 2pc to €86.4m.

The cash-rich firm has a cash pile of €37.1m which generated €1.4m in bank interest income. Operating profits at the firm increased marginally from €2.8m to €2.93m in the 12 months to the end of October.

"I'm reasonably happy with how the company performed last year," said Mr Lonergan who is one of the co-founders of Ryanair. "An increase of 2pc in revenues is not spectacular, but my new mantra is 'flat is good'."

He said he is happy with how the Budget Travel brand, purchased in 2010, has performed. "It is a wonderful brand and we were lucky enough to buy it. We have improved the technology behind the brand, but are achieving less margin."

Numbers employed by the firm last year increased from 124 to 130 with staff costs last year reducing from €4.49m to €4.28m.

Last year, the company paid a €795,089 dividend to shareholders that followed a dividend payout of €859,472 in 2011.

Directors' emoluments, including pension contributions, for Mr Lonergan, Helen Lonergan and Colman Burke last year increased from €284,696 to €317,243.

The figures show that the firm's cost of sales last year increased from €75.7m to €77.8m.

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