Webjet shares have soared to a record high after the online travel group posted a 63 per cent jump in underlying full-year profit as bookings surged across its divisions.
Underlying profit rose to $55.7 million, while revenue for the year to June 30 jumped 54 per cent to $291 million.
The company’s total transaction value lifted 54 per cent to $3 billion and underlying earnings were up 71 per cent to $87.4 million.
Webjet’s namesake flight booking website saw a 10 per cent rise in overall bookings, while its WebBeds service was a particularly strong performer following the acquisition of UK competitor JacTravel in August 2017.
Hotel bookings at the business-to-business (B2B) service more than tripled to 2.27 million in the 2017/18 financial year, compared with 726,000 bookings a year earlier.
Margins also grew from 0.9 per cent to 23.8 per cent.
Webjet’s managing director John Guscic credited the strong results to the company’s bookings growth both in Australia and overseas.
“The acquisition of JacTravel has been instrumental in strengthening our competitive position, increasing our size in all regions and significantly expanding our pool of directly contracted hotel inventory,” Mr Guscic said in a statement on Thursday.
“During the year we continued to increase direct contracts in key markets and we now have direct contracts with more than 21,000 hotels.”
Webjet now holds 5 per cent share of the domestic flight market and 3 per cent share of the international market.
Mr Guscic flagged further growth for the 2018/19 financial year.
“We believe we are well-positioned and have substantial headroom for ongoing bookings growth as the B2C (business to consumer) market continues to shift online. We also see significant growth opportunities in Packages and will continue to improve our ancillary offerings,” he said.
There are also considerable growth opportunities as the global B2B industry continues to consolidate, he said.
The company reaffirmed its bookings growth targets for both B2C and B2B businesses – aiming for bookings growth rates of more than 3 times the underlying market for B2C and more than 5 times the underlying market for B2B.
At 1550 AEST, shares in the group were up $2.72, or 18.8 per cent, to $17.19.
Webjet will pay a fully-franked dividend of 12 cents a share, up from 10 cents the previous year.