Dart Group PLC (LON:DTG) shares topped the London market gainers on Thursday after the owner of airline and tour operator Jet2 reported a 49% jump in full-year profits and said its current year profit will "substantially exceed market expectations" as holiday demand has strengthened in the UK.
The AIM-listed group saw its pre-tax profit increase to £134.6mln for the year ended 31 March 2018, up from £90.1mln a year earlier boosted by foreign exchange gains and as it took more people on holiday.
The firm reported a 38% jump in full-year revenue to £2.39bn, up from £1.73bn the year before, with its pre-tax margin increased to 5.6% from 5.2%, although its operating profit margin slipped to 5.5% from 6.0%.
The firm said Jet2.com flew a total of 10.38mln passengers in the year, an increase of 46%, which included a 45% rise in demand for its Real Package Holidays as 2.50mln customers enjoyed a Jet2holidays package holiday.
Dart Group’s executive chairman, Philip Meeson said: “Demand for our leisure travel product has strengthened since the start of the new financial year and given current forward bookings we expect that Group profit before foreign exchange revaluations and taxation for the financial year ending 31 March 2019, will substantially exceed current market expectations.”
But, he added: “Looking further ahead, emerging cost pressures coupled with the overall uncertain UK economic outlook, particularly related to Brexit and how it may impact on consumer spending, means we remain unclear how demand will develop in the medium term.
The group is hiking its full-year dividend by 54% to 6.0p, giving a total payout of 7.5p, up 42% on a year earlier.
By mid-morning trading, Dart Group shares had soared 36% higher to 1,008p.
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