The Thomas Cook Group is predicting merger synergies of €200 million by 2008/09, €60 million more than its original prediction and a year ahead of schedule.

Speaking as he announced the audited results for the year ending October 31, 2007, group chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa said the additional savings come thanks to the effiicient merger of Thomas Cook and MyTravel last year.

He added the group’s pre-tax profits were €284.3, up 30%,  while the board is recommending a dividend of five pence per share for 2007.

Fontenla-Novoa said the board is now intending to seek shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting in March to launch a share buy-back programme of around €375 million.

He added: “The integration of Thomas Cook and MyTravel Group to form Thomas Cook Group has been very successful and is now largely complete. I am delighted with our first set of results, which show a healthy increase in profit from operations.

“Our company has a great brand and heritage and we have laid a firm foundation for the future by integrating two businesses quickly and effectively. We now have a clear strategy for growing the business and I look to the future with confidence.”