chief executive Peter McHugh has said he expects the group to return to
profitability in 2005, despite posting annual pre-tax losses of £910.9 million
blamed one-off costs, structural problems and poor management systems for the
massive losses. It reported an operating loss of £358.3 million, with the UK
business accounting for £325.4 million. Exceptional items came in at £472.7
Despite the heavy losses, no
announcements have been made regarding job cuts or shop closures. However,
McHugh said the beleaguered operator was “on schedule” to deliver
cost savings of at least £150 million in 2005.
admitted 2003 had been “disappointing” but said bookings for winter
2003/04 were in line with expectations and margins had improved over the
previous year. Summer business is currently down but in line with the rest of
the industry and is also showing better margins, he added.
remained upbeat about the group’s progress in reversing its fortunes.
the group faces significant challenges, which will take time to overcome, the
turnaround can be achieved,” he said. “We are working towards a
significant improvement in 2004 and a return to profitability in 2005.”
The company also announced the appointment of John
Allkins as group finance director. Allkins joins from data communications firm
Equant. Interim chief financial officer John Darlington will now concentrate on
his main role of restructuring the UK charter and distribution business.