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On the Beach remains optimistic despite first-half loss | News

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On the Beach recorded a first-half loss of £34 million in the six months to the end of March, compared to a profit of £12 million for the same period last year.

The reversal in fortunes was pinned on the sharp slowdown in travel following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Revenue slumped by two thirds over the period, to £21 million.

The company did not declare an interim dividend.

The bleak result included exceptional costs of £35 million, which the company said represented the estimated cost of Covid-19 to trading in the first half.

The online travel agent said booking volumes for summer 2021 remained low, but were significantly ahead of the prior year.

This was due in part to the early release of flights for next year by most major airlines, a statement added.

“In the aftermath of the Thomas Cook collapse, the group made excellent progress in the first four months of the financial year, driving record levels of brand awareness and achieving sales growth of almost 30 per cent for holidays departing in summer 2020,” Simon Cooper, chief executive of On the Beach Group explained.

“We also made significant progress against our strategic objectives in the year with classic package holidays going live in over 2,600 agencies alongside the continued expansion of our long-haul offering.”

He added: “The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic led to a rapid slowdown in demand for foreign travel followed by the total closure of airspace across Europe by mid-March.

“The flexibility and asset light nature of our business model together with our recently strengthened balance sheet and the actions we have taken since the middle of March means we are well placed to capitalise on the inevitable structural changes in the market post COVID-19.

“As a result, the board continues to look to the future with confidence.”

Into the Sunset

Also today, the company announced chief financial officer, Paul Meehan, has tendered his resignation to the board in order to pursue other business interests.

Joining the group in 2017, he will step down from the role and board on July 17th and will be available when and if appropriate during the upcoming months.

Subsequently, On the Beach announces that Shaun Morton, the currently director of finance, will be promoted to chief financial officer and will join the board.

Cooper added: “I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Board, to thank Paul for his three and a half years with On the Beach, during which time we have successfully completed two acquisitions and, most recently, a £67 million placing of new shares.”

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