Pre-tax profits at the largest travel agency in the country, Club Travel last year increased by 13.7% to €3.9m.
Boosted by the purchase of the Budget Travel brand, revenues at Club Travel increased by 9.4% from €77.1m to €84.4m in the 12 months to Oct 31, 2011.
Liam Lonergan, managing director and owner of Club Travel, said yesterday: “It is a challenging environment out there and the industry continues to be very demanding, but we are relatively pleased having done reasonably well last year.
“The main reason we are doing well is that we have spent an awful lot of money on technology over the past 10 years.”
Club Travel purchased the Budget Travel brand in 2010 and Mr Lonergan said the Budget Travel business was a “major contributor” to the increase in revenues last year.
He said the purchase of the brand “has gone as well as we expected. It is an excellent brand”.
Numbers employed by Club Travel last year increased from 110 to 124 with staff costs totalling €4.49m.
The accounts filed with the Companies Registration Office show that last year, Club Travel paid an €859,472 dividend to shareholders that followed a dividend payout of €928,015 in 2010.
Mr Lonergan said the investment in technology has allowed the Club Travel business to remain relevant. “The bricks and mortar model of the travel agent is substantially gone.
“There is nothing predictable in this business. I am quite positive about the short term. The medium term? I haven’t a clue.”
A co-founder of Ryanair, Mr Lonergan set up Club Travel 41 years ago and the Dublin-based firm has built up a substantial cash pile over the years.
At the end of Oct 2011, the firm’s cash totalled €34.2m — interest payments received by the firm last year topped €1.1m boosting the firm’s profits.
The firm had accumulated profits of €31.8m at the end of October. Mr Lonergan said the firm “has quite a diversified business” that includes corporate, student and leisure with the firm accounting for nearly 20% of all longhaul sales in Ireland.
Club Travel has acted as the Irish Government’s official travel agent for the past 13 years.
However, earlier this month, the firm lost the contract to international travel giant, Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
The firm’s cost of sales last year increased from €69.2m to €75.7m. Administrative costs last year decreased from €6m to €5.8m with the firm’s operating profit increasing by 48% from €1.9m to €2.8m. The profit takes account of non-cash depreciation costs totalling €225,026.
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