July 31, 2014 / 7:11 AM / 3 years ago

Thomas Cook earnings rise for eighth straight quarter

LONDON (Reuters) - British holiday operator Thomas Cook (TCG.L) reported an eighth straight quarterly profit rise, driven by its UK performance, and said its plan to transform the business was on track.

The company also said on Thursday its operating performance was in line with internal expectations for the full year and forecast “more value” in 2015 and beyond.

It said it had seen stronger late summer 2014 bookings in the UK, Germany and northern Europe, and encouraging bookings for the winter 2014-15 and summer 2015 seasons.

Thomas Cook launched a turnaround plan under Chief Executive Harriet Green in 2012, after two years in which the euro zone debt crisis and political turmoil in Egypt and Tunisia left it struggling with debt, which stands at 507 million pounds ($857 million).

But the company warned in May that average holiday prices in Britain for the current summer period were 3 percent lower than last year, worrying investors and causing the stock to lose about a third of its value in last three months.

It posted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 33 million pounds ($56 million) in the three months to the end of June, its fiscal third quarter, a big improvement on the 1 million pounds it made in the same period last year.

It said all its businesses had delivered improved results, though it was helped by the timing of Easter.

    The gross margin across the group rose 30 basis points, with the UK gross margin up 150 basis points.

    Analysts currently expect the company to report EBIT of 340 million pounds in the 12 months to the end of September, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus forecast.

    ($1 = 0.5914 British Pounds)

    Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Kate Holton and David Holmes

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