Profits halved at student travel specialists USIT
USIT, the student travel company that specialises in J1 work visas, has seen its profits halved after a rise in administration costs.
According to newly filed accounts for USIT Ireland Ltd, the firm made an operating profit of €267,671 in the 12 months to the end of October 2014, down from the €728,031 it made the year before.
The main activity of the group is the distribution of travel and work abroad programmes to the student and youth sector.
Turnover declined marginally from about €5.9m to €5.8m, while administrative costs jumped from just under €2.3m to almost €2.6m.
The company made a full year profit of about €180,000, down substantially from the near €577,000 profit it booked the year before.
The fall in profits is in direct contrast to the performance of USIT in 2013, when the business reported a 20-fold increase in pre-tax profits to €686,270 from the €32,778 in 2012.
The number of people employed by USIT declined slightly, from 86 in 2013 to 84, while wage costs rose from almost €2.9m just over €3m.
The company directors did not recommend a dividend after paying out €115,000 in 2013.
The directors report said that the company performed "extremely well... despite a challenging economic environment," as it continued to drive business through niche and new offerings.
The company has said that it will cover the medical expenses of the students injured in the Berkeley balcony collapse earlier this year.
Six young Irish students were killed and seven others were seriously injured after a balcony collapsed at a 21st birthday celebration in Berkeley, California.
The victims had all flown out to California for the summer on J1 working visas.
As a mandatory requirement of their visas, the students were all required to purchase insurance before they travelled to the US.
Dearbhla O'Brien, managing director of USIT, previously said each student is therefore covered for medical expenses up to an amount of €7.5m ($8.5m).
USIT Ireland had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.