Munich Germany, 25 March 2020 - HolidayCheck Group experienced a muted 2019 financial year. This was partly due to the development of the Central European package tour market, partly as a result of weaker than expected customer demand. In addition, the insolvencies of the airline Germania and the German subsidiaries of the Thomas Cook Group had a negative impact on business performance.
Revenue of HolidayCheck Group AG improved year on year by 3.5 percent, from EUR 138.9 million to EUR 143.7 million, mainly as a result of a slight increase in travel volume and first-year proceeds from the Group's own tour operator HC Touristik, founded in 2018, amounting to EUR 2.0 million.
In order to present the overall business in a comprehensible manner in view of the new, additional business model of generating package holidays, HolidayCheck Group AG plans to manage its business on the basis of gross margin from the 2020 financial year onwards, instead of the previously used key performance indicator of revenue. The gross margin is defined as sales less COGS (costs of goods sold refers to the purchase of advance travel services such as hotel, flight, and transfer services by the Group's own tour operator HC Touristik).
The gross margin for financial year 2019 amounted to EUR 141.9 million, compared with EUR 138.9 million in financial year 2018 (+2.2 percent).
EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) amounted to EUR 6.4 million in financial year 2019, following EUR 10.0 million in the previous year (-36.0 percent).
Operating EBITDA in financial year 2019 totaled 7.0 million EUR following 10.7 million EUR in the previous year (-34.6 percent).
EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) amounted to EUR -3.7 million EUR in the 2019 financial year following EUR 3.0 million in the previous year.
The consolidated Financial Result for the HolidayCheck Group in financial year 2019 was EUR -0.4 million, compared with EUR -0.2 million in the previous year.
EBT (earnings before taxes) amounted to EUR 4.0 million in financial year 2019 after EUR 2.8 million in the previous year.
Consolidated net profit/loss totaled -4.6 million EUR in financial year 2019 after EUR 1.9 million in the previous year.
Basic and undiluted earnings per share amounted to EUR -0.08 in financial year 2019 after EUR 0.03 in the previous year.
The worldwide spread of COVID-19 and the associated comprehensive travel restrictions in many countries are currently having a significant impact on the demand for holiday travel. After a good start in the first 8 weeks of the 2020 financial year, HolidayCheck Group has been recording a sharp decline in package and hotel bookings since the end of February. In addition, there was a significant increase in the number of tour operators cancelling package tours or package tours cancelled by customers. According to the company's assessment, demand for holiday travel is expected to continue to fall significantly in the coming weeks.
In order to protect its employees, the HolidayCheck Group has moved to working from home wherever possible, including for service centre employees. As all the technical requirements were in place in good time, business operations ran smoothly.
In addition, a crisis management team was set up to provide support and advice to holidaymakers affected by the crisis. It is a matter of great concern to the company and its employees to provide holidaymakers with help and advice even in times of crisis and to keep them informed of current developments in the best possible way.
In order to preserve the company's liquidity as far as possible and reasonable, the Management Board has introduced extensive cost-cutting measures. In particular, marketing activities were reduced to a necessary minimum. Nevertheless, these can be quickly ramped up to suit new demand situations.
In addition, specific actions have been initiated to reduce personnel costs noticeably. These include a waiver of salary increases, the introduction of shortened working hours in large parts of the company and a partial, voluntary reduction in salary by the Management Board. At the same time, great importance was attached to avoiding staff cutbacks in order to be able to quickly return to full efficiency after the crisis.
The company will make targeted use of the current situation to continue working on innovation for holidaymakers and to implement its vision of becoming the most holidaymaker-friendly company in the world.
Overall, the Management Board of HolidayCheck Group AG expects a significant year on year decline in the gross margin (revenues less COGS/committed travel expenses) for financial year 2020, adjusted for the acquisition and sale of investments, and a significantly negative operating EBITDA. A reliable quantification of the decline is currently not possible due to the uncertain facts and information situation.
HolidayCheck Group AG currently has cash and cash-equivalents of around EUR 40 million. HolidayCheck Group AG therefore assumes that, despite the current effects of COVID-19, solvency can be ensured to maintain business operations, including through consistent cost management. The consequences of a much longer-lasting crisis can only be assessed to a limited extent and could trigger further liquidity risks.
At the same time, the HolidayCheck Group believes it is in a good starting position to gain additional market share in the long term once the current crisis is over, both as travel agent and as tour operator.
The German-language Annual Report 2019 will be published in the course of 31 March 2020 at www.holidaycheckgroup.com in the Investor Relations section. The English-language version of the Annual Report 2019 will follow in the course of April.
About HolidayCheck Group AG:
HolidayCheck Group AG (ISIN DE005495329), Munich, Germany, is one of Europe’s leading digital travel firms for holidaymakers. With a total workforce of around 490, HolidayCheck Group AG comprises HolidayCheck AG (which operates hotel review and travel booking portals by the same name), HC Touristik GmbH (which operates the travel agent HolidayCheck Reisen), Driveboo AG (which operates the car rental portals MietwagenCheck and Driveboo) and WebAssets B.V. (which operates the Zoover hotel review portals and the MeteoVista/WeerOnline weather portals). HolidayCheck Group’s vision is to become the world’s most holidaymaker-friendly company in the world.