Global ‘traditional’ travel agency Flight Centre (FLT) predicts it will make a record pre-tax profit of between A$285m and A$290m for the year to June 30.  MD Graham Turner said result, achieved despite volatile trading conditions, highlighted the company’s global diversity. “It is no longer correct to think of FLT as purely an Australian-based retail travel agency,” Mr Turner said.

“While the Australian leisure business continues to set records and remains the key contributor to group profits, corporate travel and international operations are now delivering solid overall earnings.

“All 10 countries were profitable at earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) level for the second successive year and record profits were achieved in the United Kingdom, the United States, Dubai, Singapore and China, in addition to Australia.

“Despite financial turmoil in Europe, the UK is currently on track to deliver about $23million in EBIT – 50% year-on-year growth.

“The US business is likely to contribute in the order of $9million EBIT, compared to $1.4million during 2010/11 and almost double its 2011/12 target of $5million.”

The USA corporate, leisure and wholesale businesses were all profitable (EBIT) over the full year, although “moderate losses” were incurred in the US e-commerce business.

“Our goal is to offer customers a blended travel experience that couples our offline shop and office network with our expanded online capabilities.

“As a retailer, we will be seamlessly 24/7 to allow travellers to interact and transact with us around-the-clock in the ways that best suit their needs.

“This is being achieved through initiatives like extended shop hours, expanded online offerings, call centres, mobile phone and laptop services and more after-hours sales teams.”

The company said during 2012/13, FLT expects to grow its global sales force by 8-10% and open its 2500th shop and business.

FLT shares surged 6% following the announcement.

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