Travel Agents

Helloworld rebounds with $18.7m profit

Hannah Edensor

Helloworld has announced its half year results, ending 31 December 2016, and can report a profit before tax of $18.7 million, a radical change from the prior period which was a loss of $1 million in December 2015.

For the half year to December, Helloworld Limited also rustled up an EBITDA of $30.1 million, an increase of $22 million compared to 2015.

“We have positive momentum in the business,” CEO and managing director Andrew Burnes said.

Burnes attributed the strong performance largely to merger with the AOT Group in February 2016, which appears to be rather instrumental in turning the business’ books around.

“We have delivered a significant turnaround from the reported loss after tax in the first half of 2016, whilst integrating the Helloworld and AOT business.”

In August 2016, Helloworld ended the financial year with solid results in a time Burnes called “evolution” for the company.

Profit before tax was $3.5 million for the year ending June 2016, a significant improvement on the prior year loss of $198.4 million.

Burnes claimed the retail network of the company has grown to over 2000 members in Australia and New Zealand, which he said reflects “the stabilisation of our pre-existing network and the addition of MTA in Australia and World Travellers Group in New Zealand.

The Total Transaction Value for the half year ending December 2016 stood at $2.7 billion. The company claims it’s also on track to achieving $17.1 million of merger synergies and annual cost savings by June 2017.

But it wasn’t a cake walk to its current business position, and in May of last year, shortly after taking the top job, Burnes admitted, “The truth of the matter is that we had a really silo business and for a long period of time.

“The left hand wasn’t too sure what the right hand was doing, and businesses, although they were good businesses, they operated completely independently from each other, across the Tasman and within Australia.”

2016 saw Delta cut its ties with Helloworld, as well as the shock departure of CMO Kim Portrate, head of wholesale Peter Egglestone, CFO Jenny Macdonald, and Qantas Holidays and Viva! Holidays general manager sales Fiona Dalton, who joined The Travel Corporation.

But despite the rocky year of 2016, Burnes believes the business is right on track to being “a much stronger business in 2020 than it is today”.

“Business fundamentals are heading in the right direction in our key market segments with demand for our integrated service offering continuing to develop and grow,” he added.

“Helloworld is benefiting from efficiency and cost control initiatives implemented since the merger with the AOT Group in February 2016.

“We continue to strengthen our relationship with our member networks and customers ensuring we are aligned to achieving our objective of providing enhanced customer service experiences across our business.”

It comes after Helloworld aquired four new cruise businesses last week, taking on Cruise Factory, Seven Oceans Cruising, Cruise Abroad and Worldwide Cruise Centres.

The transaction for these businesses is scheduled to wrap up by the end of this month, with consideration for the acquisition comprising 100,000 Helloworld Limited shares and $664,000 in cash.

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