01 September 2017: Travellers Choice is today pleased to announce a pre-tax operating profit for 2016/17 of $1.92 million – maintaining the Company's record of returning a profit every year throughout its 40-year history.
Travellers Choice Managing Director Christian Hunter says the Company’s total income decreased by 5% for the financial year, primarily reflecting a softening of airfare prices.
“We saw an increase in the number of airline tickets processed year-on-year, but a decline in the average cost of airfares impacted overall revenue generated by our airline agreements,” says Hunter.
“After four consecutive years of record profits, this trend, combined with additional investments during 2016/17 in our expanding range of digital support services, has resulted in a 5% fall in total pre-tax profit.
“With airfare prices firming, positive forward sales across the Travellers Choice network, and new high-calibre member shareholders set to join the fold, the Company is well positioned for profit growth in the year ahead.”
The Travellers Choice Board declared that the 2016/17 profit – excluding a contribution from the sale of the Company’s shareholding in the Worldwide Independent Travel Network (WIN) – will now be returned directly to the national retail network’s members, who remain the Company’s sole shareholders.
All member shareholders will receive a 5.0 per cent (25 cents per share) unfranked dividend, with the majority of the remaining operating profit distributed through trading rebates based on sales support for Travellers Choice’s suite of airline and wholesale partners.
Including the latest profit distribution, during the 2016/17 fiscal period Travellers Choice returned more than $2.6 million in additional commissions, incentives and overrides directly to its members – a 5 per cent increase on 2015/16. This is over and above the supplementary override commissions members earned at source.
Travellers Choice was one of four equal partners in WIN until June 2017 when UK independent agency network Advantage Travel Partnership bought out its fellow shareholders.
Hunter says the sale presented "a rare and valuable opportunity to monetise the Company's shareholding," while retaining access to WIN products and services.
“At the same time, we will continue to enjoy one of the other important benefits of being part of the WIN network, which is the opportunity to interact and share insights with similar independent organisations around the world.”
Hunter says the Travellers Choice Board has opted to retain the income from the WIN shareholding in order to invest in development projects.
“We are now looking at a variety of investment options that will maximise the long-term return for the Company and its members.”
Travellers Choice member shareholders will meet in Perth in November for the group's Annual General Meeting and 2017 Shareholders’ Conference.