All Leisure reports £1.4m ash cloud loss

Niche cruise company All Leisure Group lost £1.4 million as a result of flight disruption due to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud last April.

This, together with the continued weakness of sterling and rising fuel prices, led to an operating loss of £2.4 million compared with a profit of £2.6 million in 2009.

The company delivered a pre-tax profit of £3.4 million before “certain derivative adjustments” and after the impact of the ash cloud, down from £4.5 million a year earlier.

The results to the end of October 2010 were described as being “in line with   expectations” with turnover up to £82 million from £73 million in the previous 12 months.

All Leisure, which runs the Voyages of Discovery, Swan Hellenic and Hebridean Island Cruises and Discover Egypt brands, said winter ocean cruise capacity was 77% sold and summer 52%.

Chairman Roger Allard said: “Without doubt 2010 has been the most challenging year the group has experienced since listing [in 2007].

“Despite this, it is testament to the strength of the group’s brands and th commitment of our staff that at a trading level the group was profitable and that like for like bookings are currently ahead of this time last year.”

The rise in turnover was mainly attributed to the first full year of operations by Hebridean Princess and the first contribution by newly introduced vessel Alexander von Humbolt.

The company is to add more cabins and balconies to the Alexander von Humbolt this year after spending $29 million on the vessel in the past 12 months.

Looking forward, the group said that “the continuing weakness of sterling puts pressures on costs that are very difficult to offset in the current recession”.

A fuel supplement has been imposed on passengers travelled from this summer in a bid to help offset some of the rise in oil costs.

The full year statement added that “the board continues to look for further investment opportunities that current market conditions might reveal”.



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