Minoan Group cuts winter losses

Minoan Group cut winter losses by 23% from £903,000 to £694,000 as it pursues further takeovers.

The Scottish company’s travel and leisure division saw pre-tax profits rise by 27% to £149,000, as total transactions grew by 22% to £24.2 million in the six months to April 30.

This came as the division continued a strategy to move away from traditional retail travel towards high margin business travel, chairman Christopher Egleton said.

Minoan is now examining a number of acquisitions “which would give rise to a step change in the travel and leisure business and allow it to reach critical mass in terms of both total transaction value and profit before taxation,” he revealed.

This follows the recent acquisition of Aberdeen-based Martin Singer Travel.

The division’s best performing areas continue to be business travel and cruise, both of which are registering annual sales growth rates of more than 25%.

Gross profit in the travel and leisure division for the three months since the end of April has increased by 21% over the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the group is in discussion with potential partners to move forward long-term plans for a resort development in Crete which is awaiting a presidential decree.

Egleton said: “We are pleased with the continuing progress underway in enhancing shareholder value across the group.

“The growth during the first half in total transaction value generated by the travel and leisure division and, importantly, both gross margin and profits has continued into the second half.

“We are more than capitalising on the upturn in the overall economy with the division’s corporate travel and cruise offerings registering annual sales growth rates of over 25%.

“With the [Crete] project in fast track and all the necessary reaffirmations of support in place both from the local municipality and the Greek government, we are progressing talks over the summer with a number of third parties who have expressed an interest in participating in the project once the presidential decree has been granted.”

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