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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 September, 2004, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Losses continue for Thomas Cook
Beach holiday
Holiday bookings are up but not from the UK
Travel operator Thomas Cook made a 196m (286m euro) pre-tax loss in the first nine months of the year despite seeing an increase in holiday bookings.

The German-owned firm has reduced its global workforce by 6% this year and deferred wage rises for 18 months after posting a 169.5m loss in 2003.

The firm said these actions had helped to improve its financial position.

Bookings for the nine months to July were 3.9% ahead of last year although UK-booked holidays fell 3.7%.

Reduced losses

The firm, jointly owned by airline Lufthansa and retailer KarstadtQuelle, said it had succeeded in reducing pre-tax losses for the nine months to July by 19%.

Excluding goodwill accounting charges, its 82m (121.4m euros) loss was a 47% improvement on last year.

We wanted to make the company fit for the future
Heinz-Ludger Heuberg, finance director

Thomas Cook was badly affected by the downturn in international travel last year caused by the Iraq war, the Sars outbreak and the sluggish global economy.

Workers at the firm agreed a package of measures, including an unfunded increase in working hours, in an effort to increase productivity and reduce costs.

Finance director Heinz-Ludger Heuberg said he believed the fall in UK bookings was temporary.

"We wanted to make the company fit for the future and this meant cutting costs and improving sales," he added.

The company is now conducting a review of all its operations which include 33 tour operators, 3,600 travel agents and a fleet of 83 aircraft.

However, Mr Heuberg said the firm would retain its major brands and maintain its presence in all its major markets, including the UK.

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17 Jun 03  |  Business

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