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Wyndham buys Tryp from Sol

WYNDHAM HOTEL Group has paid $43m to acquire the Tryp hotel brand from Sol Melia Hotels & Resorts. The deal, which is likely to see the introduction of a new brand called Tryp by Wyndham, includes a licensing agreement covering 91 properties in Europe and South America. These hotels will con- tinue to be owned, operated, or managed by Sol Melia with Wyndham receiving a fee. The midmarket Tryp brand operates about

13,000 rooms and caters to both business and leisure travellers. Tryp becomes Wyndham’s 12th brand name, joining a portfolio that includes Travelodge and Ramada.

City backs Cook, despite Ftse fall

Rob Gill. CITY ANALYSTS have backed Thomas Cook despite the tour operator losing its coveted place in the Ftse 100 list of top shares. Europe’s second largest opera- tor fell out of the top 100 list and into the FTSE 250 on Wednesday following a drop of around 30% in its share price over the past three months. Chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa, speak- ing at the ITT conference, said he had no concerns about the development.

And analysts said the loss of its blue-chip status did not reflect on Cook’s prospects as a company.

Douglas McNeill, a travel analyst with Charles Stanley Securities, said Cook’s shares may soon recover and he has recently recommended that clients should start investing in the operator. “History suggests dropping out of the Ftse 100 can be quite a good thing for a share price,” he said. “When shares drop out it is because they have been on a bad run but then they can often start to have a good run.”

Et-China sells packages to sites such as the Forbidden City

Kuoni acquires rest of Et-China

KUONI HAS signalled its intent to move into the Asia Pacific travel market following the purchase of a Chinese tour operator. The Swiss-based company has bought Et-China

in a cash deal, valuing the company at £40m. Kuoni acquired an initial 33% stake in the operator last year. Kuoni Group chief executive Peter Rothwell

said: “Our activities in one of the fastest growing travel and tourism regions have vast potential. “Et-China can make a substantial contribution to the further development of the Kuoni Group and in our positioning as a key player in China.”

■Kuoni adds US to Worldwide brochure, p28 14


Europe’s airlines ‘to lose $2.8bn’

THE WORLD’S airlines will achieve a collective profit margin of just 0.5% this year, as a global recovery is held back by the struggling European aviation sector. Iata is predicting global airlines will be back in the black this year, with a profit of $2.5bn, but European airlines are expected to lose $2.8bn. The association had previously predicted the global industry would lose $2.8bn in 2010 but is now more positive about this year as airlines have benefited from cost cutting, restructuring and an improving world economy. But the industry’s profit margin will also be a far cry from its normal average profit margin of

around 4% or the 10% margin which British Airways briefly achieved a few years ago. Iata had predicted that European carriers would lose $2.2bn in its previous forecast in March, but revised this due to the ash cloud which cost European airlines an estimated $1.26bn. Iata said GDP growth of 0.9% was also “not enough to support a recovery” in Europe and the euro currency crisis “clouds the future”.

Iata’s revised predictions for 2010 Revenues Passenger demand

growth Passenger yields Fuel cost Net profit

Net % margin

March forecast June forecast $522bn $545bn 5.6%

7.1% +2.0% +4.5%

$132bn $140bn -$2.8bn +$2.5bn -0.5%


McNeill said it would not affect trading or Cook’s ability to raise financing “when they need it”. Nick Batram, from KBC Peel Hunt, said there were “technical” issues that could adversely affect

Cook’s shares after dropping out of the Ftse 100. “But the strong fundamentals of the

company will far outweigh any technical is-

sues,” Batram added, who is also advising clients to buy Cook’s shares. “I do not think any less of Cook for dropping out of the Ftse. We have known for a while it was on the danger list and would fall out if the share price did not bounce back.” Cook was relegated along with the shares of the London Stock Exchange itself. Cook made it into the Ftse 100 for the first time in the company’s history in December 2007 after the merger with MyTravel earlier that year. Fellow operator Tui Travel remains in the Ftse

100. Other travel companies also staying in the blue-chip ranks are Carnival, British Airways and InterContinental Hotels Group.

020 7921 8011

Rob Gill

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