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Tourism Holdings Profit Up 17%


Tourism Holdings Profit Up 17%

Tourism Holdings Limited (THL) today reported an unaudited Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) of $4.9m for the six months ended 31 December 2004. This is $0.7m or a 17% increase on the $4.2m for the same period last year.

However, after adjusting for the losses for Oz Experience which is subject to a conditional sale due to settle in April, the NPAT for continuing businesses was $5.9m compared to last year’s $5m an increase of 18%.

The Profit was achieved on a turnover of $85.2m up 5% with the New Zealand revenue up 12% and Australia down 7% primarily due to entering into a third party arrangement for car rentals and the lower volumes of Oz Experience. Major cost efficiencies were achieved in the Rentals division where EBITA increased 37% to $15.1m on a revenue increase of 6%.

Australian Rental Review

During the period an external review was carried out on the appropriateness of THL Australia’s Rentals Business Model. In recent years there have been significant changes driven by increased airline capacity and lower domestic airfares together with other structural changes that necessitated this review. This review confirmed that the existing Business Model was appropriate and together with the current rationalisation and consolidation of the motorhome rental sector sustainable economic returns should be achievable in the medium term. Steps already taken and a prior period GST refund have resulted in Rentals Australia EBITA increasing 22% to $5.5m.

Dividend

Based on current profitability, trading outlook and cash flow, the Directors have resolved to pay a 5 cents per share interim dividend fully imputed with a record date of Friday, 15th April and payment date of 22nd April 2005. This compares to a 4 cents interim dividend paid last year.

Acquisitions / Disposals

During the six months THL has acquired three businesses. The Hertz Australia and Cruise NZ motorhome fleets together with forward bookings were successfully acquired and integrated into the THL Rentals Australia and NZ fleets in August and October respectively. To date the planned objectives of the acquisitions have been achieved on target with good revenue retention and operating efficiencies.

On 1st December 2004 THL purchased the Paihia based cruising and coaching businesses of Fullers Bay of Islands. Two unfortunate accidents in December to the vessels Excitor and Tiger III negatively impacted December and January earnings. However with the replacement of Tiger III with Tiger V within ten days and the repairing of the Excitor the cruising fleet has regained in late January its previous carrying capacity and is now enjoying strong patronage.

On the 3rd February 2005 THL announced it had entered into a conditional agreement with Adventure Tours Australia (ATA) to sell Oz Experience. Oz Experience has incurred in the six months under review an operating loss of $1.4m following last year’s loss of $1.6m. Good progress is being maintained to dispose of the business as planned by 1 st May 2005.

Trading Environment

International tourism continues to operate in a more stable environment. The recent horrific Asian tsunami has not deterred international travellers. However THL’s New Zealand operations together with much of the New Zealand’s tourism sector were adversely impacted by unusually bad weather in December and early January which has detrimentally impacted traditionally high earnings months. Lower transtasman airfares have helped New Zealand continue to enjoy strong international visitor arrivals , with an increasing influence from Australia which now represents 37% of all international arrivals increasing at 23% p.a. Conversely, there are signs in THL’s traditional Northern Hemisphere and Japanese markets of slower growth trends and in some countries a decline in tourists visiting New Zealand.

Forecast

Based on current trading and future bookings THL should achieve for their continuing businesses for the year to 30 June 2005 a NPAT of $12.5m to $13.5m which compares to $12.5m last year (on a like for like basis). When taking into account Oz Experience combined trading losses and anticipated sale costs of potentially $2m tax paid, the reported NPAT for the 30 June year is anticipated to be in the range of $10.5m to $11.5m which compares to the NPAT of $11.2m reported last year.

Announcement authorised by:

Keith Smith Chairman Tourism Holdings Limited

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