Thomas Cook to give trading update after difficult year

Thomas Cook will update the market on its first quarter trading figures this week as the travel sector looks to recover from a year that saw European terror attacks and political instability in Turkey dent bookings.

City analysts forecast that losses at the travel giant will widen in the three months to the end of December, with the group’s Nordic and German airline operations dragging on its performance.

Jeffrey Harwood, at Stifel, said: “Last year a £49 million operating loss was incurred in the first quarter. We expect some increase in the loss this year, reflecting lower profits in Nordics, difficult trading at Condor and adverse currency translation movements.”

Last year Thomas Cook boss Peter Fankhauser bemoaned a “difficult year for tourism” after the group revealed that underlying profits dropped to £308 million in the year to September 30 from £310 million a year earlier.

Political ruptures in Turkey and the terrorist atrocity in Brussels knocked demand, although it said that moves to shift to alternative destinations helped limit the blows.

Wyn Ellis, analyst at Numis Securities, said: “We remain unenthusiastic about the investment merits of Thomas Cook: we believe that the basic business model continues to face structural challenges.”

Nevertheless, Mr Ellis still expects the travel giant to report an “upbeat” set of results on Thursday amid a backdrop of steady demand and softer comparatives.