Thomas Cook to Miss Its Target for profits Next Year

U.K.-based travel company Thomas Cook Group PLC (TCG.LN) Thursday warned that it will miss its target for profits next year due to the downturn in the industry, after posting a widened loss in the last nine months.

The company said it will still meet this fiscal year's targets despite the widened loss, but it won't make the GBP480 million in earnings before interest and tax, or EBIT, it had targeted for next year , Wall Street Journal reports.

The impact of the virus cost Europe's second largest travel firm £12.6m.

Travellers shunned trips to long-haul destinations like Mexico - where swine flu is thought to have originated.

Chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa was upbeat about the company's results during this "tough" period although they reported a loss.

He said the strength of the company's brand would help it to weather the economic storm as consumers are "favouring a reliable travel provider they trust." , Sky News reports.

The group said it was too early to predict how next summer would pan out. While it continued to anticipate further growth in profits and margins in 2010, it had abandoned its operating profit target of £480 million.

It said this target, outlined in November 2007 following the merger with MyTravel, had been "a longer term view of what we believed the business could achieve" , Times Online reports.

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