Thomas Cook warned in July that terror attacks in Tunisia
London - AFP
British travel operator Thomas Cook on Wednesday posted its first annual net profit for five years, despite the impact of terror attacks in Tunisia, thanks to cost-cutting efforts.
Net profit, earnings after taxation, stood at £23 million ($35 million, 33 million euros) in the 12 months to the end of September, Thomas Cook said in a results statement.
That contrasted with a net loss of £118 million in the group's previous financial year.
"2015 has been a year of real progress as good trading combined with rigorous cost control," said chief executive Peter Fankhauser.
"Despite turbulence in some of our destinations, the underlying business performed in line with our plans at the start of the year, demonstrating its greater resilience."
Turnover slid nine percent to £7.8 billion, but rose by one percent on a comparable basis.
The group had warned in July that terror attacks in Tunisia and fallout from Greece's economic crisis would affect its annual results.
The Tunisia attacks cost the group £130 million in sales during the 2014/2015 financial year.
Tourist numbers to Tunisia dwindled after an attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis in March in which 22 people were killed, and another at a hotel near Sousse in June in which 38 were killed, including 30 Britons. Thomas Cook evacuated more than 15,000 tourists following the hotel shooting massacre.
Fankhauser added on Wednesday that it was too soon to put a figure on the impact of flight suspensions to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, following security concerns raised by the downing of a Russian jet late last month.
Britain temporarily suspended flights to the Red Sea resort, a popular destination for British tourists, immediately after a Russian plane went down on October 31 in the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.
Thomas Cook had announced on Monday that its flight and holiday programme had been cancelled up to and including December 10.
"During the year our staff have shown great dedication in times of crisis, working tirelessly to support our customers," added Fankhauser.
"Their response to recent events in both Egypt and, earlier in the year, Tunisia, shows what we can achieve when we pull together.
"In a time of geopolitical uncertainty, that level of customer care is a key advantage of our packaged holiday offering."
He added that the new financial year "has got off to a good start" with "encouraging trading" for winter 2015/16 and summer 2016 holidays.