Thomas Cook Q1 Pretax Loss Widens; Revenue Up 1%

Its bookings for the summer were up on past year, but it remained cautious about the rest of 2017.

Partly because of the prevailing high prices in Spain, bookings to Greece for summer 2017 are up by almost half.

Shares in Thomas Cook fell more than 8 percent on Thursday after the tour operator issued a cautious trading update and saw more than a fifth of its shareholders rebel over its executive pay policy.

In the United Kingdom, winter bookings are 5% higher, with prices 1% lower, while it said average selling prices are 9% higher for the summer.

Summer 2017 is so far 31% sold, which is 9% ahead of this time past year, while the current winter season is only 82% sold, as expected.

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This is helping offset the tougher market in Spain, in particular Majorca and the Canary Islands, with hotels increasing prices by six per cent to eight per cent after seeing surging demand a year ago.

Thomas Cook is raising its prices this year, it will cost on average 9 per cent more to fly away on holiday this summer.

Intense competition between low-priced airlines means that flight-only prices for the coming summer are no higher than previous year.

Britain's planned exit from the European Union is another uncertainty factor, along with new US President Donald Trump, but the company said it is on track to meet market expectations for its full-year operating profit.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: " Times are tough in the European travel industry and Thomas Cook isn't having the best of it, though the good news is things don't seem to be getting any worse".

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Thomas Cook said it was facing "intensified competition" in the islands as airlines ramped up flights and has responded by focusing on higher-end holidays "rather than chase volume growth".

Faced with the rebellion, Thomas Cook said it would not use the SSIP in the current financial year and would consult with shareholders before activating it.

Just shy of a third of votes went against the 2017 strategic share incentive plan.

But there are concerns over a clause that would allow Mr Fankhauser to claim up to 225% of his £703,800 annual salary - a potential £1.6 million - according to investor group Institutional Shareholder Services.

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