THE weaker dollar hasn’t abated Australia’s love of travel, with Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) announcing record results in the half year to December.
FLT announced a net profit of $110.8 million, a 20.7 per cent jump from $91.8 million in the previous corresponding period.
Revenue increased 15.1 per cent to $1.1 billion, attributed to sales exceeding network growth, store expansion and overseas earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) up 30 per cent.
Managing director Graham Turner (pictured) says the global sales network has grown, hiring 1100 fulltime staff in the past year.
“Over the past four years, we have now added more than 4000 people to our workforce.
“The Australian business has, so far, been the key contributor to overall results although we have also seen continued growth in offshore earnings,” he says.
FLT also noted its niche leisure and corporate brands have performed well, generating half of turnover in Australia.
There is ongoing network expansion in the UK, with a 33 per cent increase in EBIT to $16.3 million in December 2013.
Operations in New Zealand experienced 80 percent growth in EBIT, while losses have been recorded in the US due to severe weather conditions.
The group opened its 2500th store, with more shops planned in the next period in Australia and overseas – continuing its transition from travel agent to travel retailer.
Turner says although the trading results are promising, it’s too soon to forecast the full year.
“The second half is traditionally our busiest period and we performed strongly during these peak trading months last year, meaning it becomes more difficult to maintain high growth rates as the year progresses.”
FLT will pay a fully franked interim dividend of 55 cents per share on April 17, making a total of $1 billion paid to shareholders since float.
Late this morning price per share was trading down 0.74 per cent at $49.43.
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