Thomas Cook Powers Ahead - Books 28% Profit
Thomas Cook (India) Ltd closed its books of accounts for the last quarter ended October 31st 2004 and posted impressive results for its financial year 2003-2004. In keeping with its parent company Thomas Cook AGs accounting system, Thomas Cook in India has its financial year from November to October.
- The Pre-Tax Profit increased by 28% over last year to stand at Rs 429 million.
- The Income for the year was Rs 1313 million, a 21% increase over last year.
- Earnings per Share has gone up to Rs 18.8 as compared to Rs 14.8 in the previous year.
- The companys reserves have swelled to a robust level of Rs 1281 million which is 9 times the capital of Rs 146 million.
- The Board of Directors has recommend a dividend of 37.5%.
The Company has performed exceptionally well in all its businesses and has recorded a significant growth in both volumes and profits.
Speaking about the companys performance, emphasises Dr Thomas Doering, Chairman of the Board, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, "Thomas Cook AG is absolutely satisfied with the performance of Thomas Cook in India and is confident of its future prespective.
Thomas Cook AG would also like to quell all rumours about the sale of the subsidiary and assures that there are no discussion with anybody regarding the same.
"This has been a good year for us with the company meeting its numbers across all its businesses. But what is more heartening to know is that the company has been showing a consistent performance even under pressured time that the Industry faced in the last two to three years. We have actually grown by over 100% since the start of the new millennium," says Ashwini Kakkar, CEO & MD. "The turnaround in the overall Indian economy and continuation of liberalisation initiatives have been a key booster and have helped us further our growth ambitions."
The company received the Best Wealth Creator of the Year 2003 award in the Hospitality and Travel industry by Foundation of Indian Industry and Economists (FIIE), and the Best Travel Agency India award from TTG Asia, for the 5th consecutive year.
The company has been strengthening and expanding its business through aggressive marketing and innovative travel products.
Both Inbound and Outbound division had substantial business growth across all its segments - GIT (Group Inclusive Travel), FIT (Free Individual Travel) and Incentive (MICE). New avenues are being tapped through specific itineraries for Eco Tourism and Wellness & Spa experiences.
Affordable and attractive apex fares by domestic carriers, promotional blitz by state tourism departments and the opening up of Kashmir, the Switzerland of India, are having a positive impact on the domestic travel market.
The Corporate Travel division too witnessed a surge in travel. Introduction of open sky policy, entry of low cost airlines, increased airline seat capacity and a buoyant economy prompted companies to release their tight string over travel budgets. The division also opened new offices in emerging metros to widen its service reach.
The challenges were to work around the adverse consequences of air fare hikes due to increase in aviation fuel price, and pressure for reduction of agency commission by airlines.
The Foreign Exchange business continued to retain its numero uno status with both the retail and the bank notes business maintaining stable growth numbers. It sustained its business yield level despite a tough year with US$ remaining weak for a larger part of the financial year. The ongoing liberalisation measures of the Reserve Bank of India continue to offer Thomas Cook a window of opportunities to grow its business. To provide the customer multiple choices, the company commenced sale of American Express Travellers Cheques, in addition to MasterCard and Visa Travellers Cheques.
Completing three years of operations, the Travel Insurance segment has been highly profitable for the company with revenue growing by over 110% for the year. The division has been targeting both corporate and retail market with its products like TravelCare, StudentCare, and EmigrationCare.
The two distribution channels - web www.thomascook.co.in and call centre (1939) have also been instrumental in furthering the customer reach and service. The internet services has key partnerships with Rediff and the Indian Railway sites for promotion of the Thomas Cook site, especially its online flight booking section.
To balance customer satisfaction with efficiency and productivity norms, the company initiated various customer service training programmes for its employees.
Thomas Cook has also been firming its presence in Mauritius and Sri Lanka both through foreign exchange and leisure travel business.
The Conde Nast Traveller, UK has ranked India in the sixth position among the top ten destination for this year. The inbound traffic too has zoomed up by about 25% in the last two months. The Incredible India campaign by the government has been very effective about creating awareness of India as a holiday destination. "So the outlook is upbeat and encouraging. The Travel Industry is getting its rightful recognition. At Thomas Cook we are moving ahead with our various business strategies," adds Kakkar.