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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 December 2005, 08:07 GMT
First Choice weathers tough year
Holidaymakers on the beach
First Choice continues to focus on a long-haul future
UK travel firm First Choice says its underlying pre-tax profits have risen by 16% helped by strong revenue growth in its specialist holidays business.

Pre-tax pre-exceptional profits were a record 114m ($198m) for the year to the end of October, the company said.

First Choice has increasingly focused itself on long-haul and adventure holidays amid stiff competition in the package holiday sector.

It announced two new acquisitions in the specialist market with its results.

First Choice said it has bought Grand Expeditions from North Castle Partners for 54m and has agreed to buy Intrav for 37m from Kuoni Holdings.

Deals

First Choice said its specialist businesses had seen turnover rise by 18% and operating profit grow 23%, and said that these businesses now represented 53% of the group's profit. The mainstream holidays sector recorded an 11% rise in profits.

The company said though current trading was strong, sales in its specialist holidays business had dropped 8% this winter, partly because holidaymakers were reluctant to visit areas affected by last year's tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

"In a year in which the travel industry has experienced an unprecedented number of significant tragic natural disasters and geo-political events, First Choice has produced an excellent performance," said chairman Sir Michael Hodgkinson.

The group's brands include Unijet, Falcon and Sovereign.


SEE ALSO:
Long-haul boost for First Choice
26 Oct 05 |  Business
Long-haul deals fuel First Choice
29 Apr 05 |  Business
First Choice profits and sales up
14 Dec 04 |  Business


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