NZ's Tourism Holdings posts H1 loss on fewer visitors

WELLINGTON Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:30pm EST

WELLINGTON Feb 28 (Reuters) - New Zealand's Tourism Holdings Ltd posted a small half-year loss on Thursday, as it was hit by fewer foreign tourists and a high exchange rate, and said it expected reduced full-year earnings.

The caravan rental operator and tourist site operator posted a loss of NZ$500,000 ($413,000) in the six months to Dec. 31, compared with a profit of NZ$4.2 million a year ago.

The result was at the bottom of the guidance range given last November, as the extra demand from the Rugby World Cup disappeared, and the company had costs of merging two of its businesses.

It said it expected full-year earnings before financing costs of NZ$14 million to NZ$16 million, down from the previous NZ$19 million guidance because of a more difficult Australian market.

The company declared an unchanged dividend of 2 cents per share.

Tourism Holdings runs campervan rental fleets in New Zealand, Australia and the United States, the Waitomo Caves tourist site, and budget bus line NZ Experience.

The company's share price closed at NZ$0.68 on Wednesday, having fallen around 1 percent so far this year against a rise of 11 percent for the benchmark NZX-50 index. ($1 = NZ$1.21) (Gyles Beckford)

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