The group's trading update maintains that underlying operating profit for the year to March 2015 will be ahead of current market expectations and broadly in-line with last year's £49.2 million showing, as a result of lower-than-anticipated winter losses.
The market also likes the company's take on the year ending March 2016, which points to an outlook bolstered by robust forward bookings in the leisure travel business for summer 2015. Over 50% of the season has already been sold, which is some way ahead of where the group was at this stage last year. The ongoing shift in mix towards package holidays is allowing Dart to add value and helps to insulate it from head-on competition from the pure low-cost operators, or at least that was the opinion of Canaccord analyst David Amiras when he looked at the company's interims in November 2014.
News from the group's Fowler Welch logistics and distribution business is vague; the division 'continues to focus on growing its revenue pipeline and developing existing and new business opportunities.' This statement was basically a retread of comments made by management at the time of the interims. The November half-year statement posited that Fowler Welch's revenue in the six months to December was essentially flat at £78.1 million but operating profit fell by 11% to £1.6m as a result of start-up losses at the new joint venture operation in Teynham, Kent.