Webjet’s annual profit jumped 147% to $52.42 million as the travel agent grows its mainstream online sales and makes inroads into the business to business market.
Revenue for 2017 was up 41.8% to $151.2 million, the number bookings jumped 43.6% to 1.85 million, and the total transaction value was 34.5% higher at $1.5 billion.
The company declared a fully franked final dividend of 10 cents a share, an increase of 2 cents or 25% on last year.
Managing director John Guscic says flight bookings are growing at more than six times the underlying market.
“The B2B business had a phenomenal year,” he says.
“Bookings growth in all markets demonstrates the importance of building a global business able to deliver deep inventory at attractive prices to a wide range of customers.”
Webjet says it gained $28 million on sale of the sale of Zuji, allowing the company to focus on the higher growth B2B opportunities in the Asian market.
“We believe we are well positioned for ongoing bookings growth as the B2C market continues to shift online and we continue to focus on improving visitations and conversions,” says Guscic.
“Together with our low cost, multi-supply aggregation strategy model, we believe we can continue to offer the greatest breadth and depth of inventory at competitive prices to our B2B customers.”
The company also decided, after talks with the corporate regulator ASIC, to end a dispute with its auditor, BDO, on the treatment of a deal with global travel company Thomas Cook.
Under an agreement announced in August last year, Sunhotels, Webjet’s European online accommodation business servicing the wholesale market, took responsibility for the majority of the volume of Thomas Cook’s hotel business.
As part of the new deal, Thomas Cook transferred around 3,000 hotel contracts to Webjet’s Sunhotels.
Chairman Roger Sharp: “Webjet has decided to adopt BDO’s treatment on grounds that Webjet’s leadership team is better engaged in focusing on executing its growth strategy and integrating JacTravel without the distraction of a protracted debate over a technical accounting matter that has no bearing on future cash flows.”
Webjet’s 2017 numbers in detail: