TWELVE billion dollars – that’s a lot of money and it’s the amount the Stella Group, Australia’s biggest diversified travel company, will turn over this year through its agencies, hotels, wholesalers and operators. The massive figure was revealed when Stella Group owner MFS backed away from a private equity deal and upgraded its pre-tax profit forecast 5% to A$220m. After lying largely dormant during the private equity negotiations, Stella has also returned to its acquisitive ways, buying a British agency group, Global Leisure.

Meanwhile, online airfare booker Webjet upgraded its forecast pre-tax profit forecast to somewhere between A$7.9m and A$8.3m on turnover of $331m. This implies the web retailer has better margins than the traditional Stella Group businesses, an interesting turn of events. Webjet’s share price has also improved of late – moving most strongly after its bid for was rejected – with the stock now selling at A$1.78. In other news, Webjet recently entered the NZ domestic airfare market, which has just been shaken up by the arrival of Pacific Blue.

Travel Trends: November 30, 2007

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