OVERSEAS BUSINESS TRIPS LIFT TRAVEL GROUP EARNINGS

OVERSEAS BUSINESS TRIPS LIFT TRAVEL GROUP EARNINGS

A SPIKE in international corporate travel has helped deliver record profits to Flight Centre (FLT).

The ASX-listed travel group today posted a 43.1 per cent increase in net profit after tax to $200.1 million for the year to June 30, 2012.

Managing director Graham Turner (pictured) confirms FLT’s overseas businesses contributed more than $60 million to group earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) in FY12.

“This almost doubles the contribution from just two years ago and is a promising future sign,” he says.

“Both our retail and corporate travel businesses are now among the largest businesses of their kind in the world, which means we do not rely solely on one travel sector.”

Turner reveals FLT’s 10 most profitable locations, for the second year in-a-row, were Australia, Singapore, Greater China, the United States, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates.

“After losing more than $60 million three years ago, the US business generated almost
$10 million in EBIT during 2011/12 – double the $5 million target for the year,” he says.

“UK EBIT increased 53 per cent in Australian dollars, despite the economic uncertainty in Europe.”

FLT websites such as flightcentre.com.au and quickbeds.com also produced a 25 per cent increase in time-to-value (TTV).

The Board of directors has approved a fully franked $0.71 per share final-dividend to be paid on October 12, 48 per cent higher than in FY11. FLT shares were flat today at $23.6 per unit.

Meanwhile, constrained capital flows, weak property markets and fragile investor sentiment continue to hinder short-term earnings for FKP Property Group (FKP).

The group posted a $350.3 net loss after tax for FY12, including a write-down in the fair value of its retirement portfolio, after adopting so-called “current valuation assumptions”.

“This initiative has been taken on the back of ongoing constructive dialogue with our security holders and other market participants – and represents a new starting point from which to appraise FKP's value,” says CEO Peter Brown.

“Despite these headwinds we have achieved a credible full-year underlying result while ensuring the long-term positioning of the portfolio remains strong, with all assets approved in the market and well-placed to benefit from a property market upturn.”

FKP also announced a $208 million capital raising, consisting of an underwritten six-for-seven accelerated, non-renounceable and pro rata entitlement offer of new, fully paid ordinary stapled securities.

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