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Tourism Holdings Trading Profit Up 43%

Tuesday, 24th August 2004

Tourism Holdings Trading Profit
Up 43% on Last Year

Tourism Holdings Limited (THL) today reported an audited profit after tax (NPAT) of $11.2m for the financial year ended 30 June 2004 which compares to last year’s profit of $8.7m.

Excluding one off tax adjustments in both years and unusual items from last year the trading NPAT of $10.3m was $3.1m or 43% ahead of last year and favourable to the Directors February forecast of $10m.

The second half profit NPAT was $6.1m which compares favourably to the first six months of $4.2m and last year’s $3m. The international tourism environment over the past six months has been more stable than previous years and not disrupted by international events such as terrorism attacks (911 and Bali), Iraq War and the SARS virus. THL in New Zealand enjoyed the benefits of a full summer season, the first in three years.

The profit was achieved on a turnover of $166m, which excluding discontinued businesses was 4% up on last year. Earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) was $27m or 7% up on last year.

Based on the 2004 results and the current trading outlook, the Directors have declared a fully imputed dividend of 5 cents per share payable on the 22nd October 2004 for Shareholders of record on the 15th October 2004. This compares to a 4 cents per share dividend paid in October last year.

The Directors consider a dividend payout ratio of 60% of NPAT pre Goodwill Amortisation as being appropriate.

The Company once again generated strong operating cash flows of $40m. With the increase in Capital Expenditure on plant, new developments and the special dividend payment in April, net debt rose from $38m to $52m.

The Balance Sheet Equity Ratio excluding intangibles reduced from 66% to 62% and the Debt to Debt plus Equity Ratio increased from 22% to 27% due to the increase in Capital Expenditure noted above. THL Board policy is to maintain an Equity Ratio excluding intangibles of at least 60%, which whilst conservative provides a buffer against unforeseen events.

The strategy of evaluating acquisitions or new developments as “Bolt On” to existing businesses has proven to be successful. Feejee Experiences launched in November 2002 as a new Fiji Backpacker experience modelled on Kiwi/Oz Experiences has gone well. The Waitomo acquisitions in October 2003 of Black Water Rafting and Ruakuri Caves (30 year concession) have and will continue to prove extremely popular, with Ruakuri Caves reopening in February 2005.

The recent acquisitions in August 2004 of the campervan fleet and forward bookings of Hertz Australia and the forward bookings of Cruise NZ have been integrated into our Australian and NZ rental fleets with minimal cost, customer or operational issues. THL will continue to evaluate similar growth opportunities.

The South Pacific region and in particular New Zealand is experiencing strong growth in international tourism. THL has a strong Balance Sheet, high cash flows and good competent management and staff to capitalise on the positive medium and long term trading outlook for THL.

Announcement authorised by:
Keith Smith
Tourism Holdings Limited
24th August 2004

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