Flight Centre will hand $211 million back to shareholders through a special dividend despite reporting a 17 per cent dip in first-half profit.

Net profit of $85 million in the six months to December fell on the previous corresponding period, following a tumultuous two years at the travel centre.

Nonetheless, on Thursday the company rewarded shareholders with a 60 cents per share interim dividend, as well as a special dividend of $1.49 per share.

Flight Centre attributed the profit dip to ‘disappointing Australian leisure profits’ but said this was offset by strong returns in its global markets.

Flight Centre’s total transaction value rose by 10 per cent from a year ago to $11.2 billion with businesses in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and Africa generating the strongest growth.

‘Our success in the world’s largest travel markets, coupled with our balance sheet strength, means we are well placed for the future and gives the board confidence to return additional funds to shareholders,’ managing director Graham Turner said in a statement.

‘While our reliance on the Australian leisure business to drive overall growth is decreasing as other businesses rapidly gain scale, it remains a significant contributor to group results.’

The company says it is tracking towards the bottom of its guidance range for the full year due to the volatility in the Australian market and leisure business, forecasting an annual pre-tax profit between $390 million and $420 million.

Flight Centre shares were trading down 3.6 per cent to $41.51 at 1032 AEDT.


* Half-year net profit down 17.1 pct to $84.8 million

* Revenue up 7.4 pct to $1.461 billion

* Interim dividend of 60 cents, fully franked, plus $1.49 special dividend