The former group chief executive of recently-acquired Page and Moy Travel Group has moved to distance himself from the large losses the company suffered last year.

The group was bought on Wednesday by All Leisure Group, the owner of Voyages of Discovery, Swan Hellenic and Hebridean Island Cruises, for £4.2 million.

Statements to the stock exchange reported a loss of £45 million last year, but this was largely due to a one-off write-down; its operating loss was in fact much smaller at £5.6 million last year.  

New owner, All Leisure chairman Roger Allard confirmed the group had made losses in 2011 but said he was impressed by the current management team which had turned the business around and was targeting a profit in 2012.

William Burton, who was group chief executive from September 2008 to June last year, said the losses were not as a result of the previous management team.

“In the coverage of the acquisition of Page & Moy Travel Group and the £45m loss it incurred in 2011, it has been mis-stated that Ian Smith and his team were brought in to turn around the company, and it has been implied that these large losses were in some way associated with the previous management team.

“This is not the case. The previous executive management team, headed up by myself, restored the company to profitability and rapid revenue growth. Ian Smith was brought in by the previous shareholders at the time they decided to introduce a new restricted investment strategy.

“We opposed this new strategy due to our concerns that it would lead to substantial operating losses.” 

However, Burton said he was “extremely supportive” of the acquisition. “It makes complete sense from the perspective of both companies,” he added.