Webjet flying high on record performance

Webjet flying high on record performance

Flights and hotels comparison service Webjet (ASX: WEB) had a record first half with financial highlights up across the board.

The company saw a 42 per cent increase in earnings to $58 million, a 33 per cent increase in revenue to $175.2 million, and a 61 per cent rise in NPAT to $38.3 million.

The company's hotel play, WebBeds, contributed the most to the strong earnings for WebJet for the first time.

WebBeds' earnings more than doubled from $12.8 million in 1H18 to $30.1 million in 1H19 driven by strong growth in Europe and the Middle East.

Managing director John Guscic says the results demonstrate why WebJets is so prominent in the global market.

"This was another outstanding result for our business," says Guscic.

"Our WebBeds business continues to consolidate its position as the #2 global B2B player and is now delivering significant EBITDA growth."

WebJet acquired Destinations of the World in November last year, which has allowed WebJet to focus on pursuing profitable growth rather than growing market share according to Guscic.

WebBeds performed well in Europe despite a record hot 2018 European summer and Brexit reducing demand for beach inventory.

The company's hotel comparison service is now the market leader in the Middle East and Africa. Guscic says there is still room for the service to grow in the Asia-Pacific.

"We continue to believe there are considerable global growth opportunities for WebBeds, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region," says Guscic.

The company says it is on track to deliver at least $120 million in earnings by the end of the financial year.

Shares in WebJet are up 27.44 per cent to $14.49 per share at 10.36am AEDT.

FLIGHT CENTRE STUCK ON THE GROUND

WebJet competitor Flight Centre did not manage to reach the heights of WebJet in the first half.

Though revenue was up by 7.4 per cent for Flight Centre, NPAT was down 16.9 per cent to $85 million and underlying profit was only up 0.7 per cent to $140 million.

The group's NPAT was hit by revenue alignment for its global procurement network, and a $23.8 million impairment relating to its Olympus Tours business.

Shares in Flight Centre are down 2.55 per cent to $41.96 per share at 10.36am AEDT.

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