Revenue tops £3.1bn at Jet2 owner Dart as profit soars

Leeds-based leisure and logistics firm Dart Group, owner of and Jet2holidays, said on Thursday its profit before tax soared 36% to £177.5 million as group revenue rose 32% to £3.1 billion in the year to March 31, 2019.

Proposed total dividend will rise 36% to 10.2p.

Dart Group shares rose about 3% to give the firm a current stock market value of around £1.2 billion. The group employs more than 11,000 people.

During the year, flew a total of 12.82 million flight-only and package holiday passengers.

This summer the group will have 100 aircraft in its fleet.

Dart group said however its operating losses for the second half of the year increased as it continued to invest in aircraft and marketing “together with the increasing cost of retaining and attracting colleagues” in readiness for expanding its summer 2019 programme.

“Though overall demand for our leisure travel products has continued to strengthen since the start of the new financial year, it is clear from our forward booking trends that generally, less confident consumers are booking later than last year and therefore pricing for both our flight-only and package holiday products has to be continually enticing,” said Dart Group in its statement.

“Nevertheless, with still some way to go in the booking cycle, the board remains optimistic that current market expectations for group profit before foreign exchange revaluations and taxation for the year ending 31 March 2020 will be met.

“Looking further ahead, the travel industry in general is facing cost pressures in relation to fuel, carbon and other operating charges which, together with the necessary continued investment in our own products and operations, including that required to attract and retain colleagues, are headwinds that the business faces.

“However, in the long term we are confident of the resilience of both our Leisure Travel and Distribution & Logistics businesses.”

The group’s food distribution and logistics business — which includes Fowler Welch — saw its profit before tax slip by £0.1 million to £4.3 million on improved revenues of £178.7 million (2018: £168.6m).