Helloworld returns to profit as transaction volumes triple to $1.2b amid surge in travel demand

Helloworld returns to profit as transaction volumes triple to $1.2b amid surge in travel demand

Listed travel agent Helloworld (ASX: HLO) has reaped the rewards of booming demand for domestic and global travel in the latest half, with total transaction value (TTV) tripling to reach $1.2 billion.

Announced today, Helloworld - which was profitable at 31 December 2022 compared to a $15 million loss after tax in the half-year prior - expects booking volumes to continue to increase over the remainder of the financial year as prices normalise and tour operators add further resources to meet demand.

Alongside a $1.6 million profit, Helloworld reported half-year underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $15.6 million, and declared a fully franked dividend of 2c per share.

Revenue was also up by 151 per cent on the prior corresponding period to $73.2 million.

“This reflects the strong demand from the traveling public, domestic and international borders returning to normal, Helloworld’s strong product offering and the incredible efforts of our agency networks to service their customer base,” Helloworld says.

As a result of the strong first-half figures, Helloworld has upgraded its EBITDA guidance to between $28 million and $32 million for the 2023 financial year.

So strong is the demand for its services that HLO says agent availability is being outstripped, noting that those wishing to book travel with an agent "understand the value and importance of working with a travel professional".

“We note the resilience of our agent networks and the dedication of the owners, managers and consultants who continue to support their customers day in and day out,” Helloworld says.

“Many consultants who left the industry are seeking to return as the travel industry continues to recover,” the company adds, noting its network of agents is now approximately 300 people fewer than in March 2020.

The company says leisure air ticket volumes (both domestic and international) in Australia and New Zealand averaged 65 per cent to 75 per cent of 2019 levels during the latest half.

Agency booking volumes in Australia are back to 2019 levels, while from a TTV perspective lower volume is being offset by higher ticket pricing.

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