* FY earnings rise 12.5 pct, in line with forecasts
* Says future bookings strong, sees no negative Brexit
* Shares up 0.6 pct
(Adds CEO comments, background, share price)
By Sarah Young
LONDON, Dec 8 TUI Group, Europe's
largest travel company, announced an extended profit forecast on
Thursday in a show of confidence after posting 12.5 percent
annual core earnings growth despite disruption as holidaymakers
avoided destinations such as Turkey.
TUI said it was extending its guidance for profit to rise by
at least 10 percent a year to its 2018/19 financial year from
the 2017/18 period, citing its strong outlook, and future
investment in hotels and cruises.
"The transformation of the business from a trading company
into a integrated company with hotels and cruises at the core of
the business will deliver the results," Chief Executive Fritz
Joussen told reporters.
Barclays analysts called TUI's profit guidance "robust in a
Looking to its new financial year, TUI said winter bookings
were up 5 percent, while for the summer season, when it makes
the bulk of its profit, bookings from the UK market were up 9
percent, TUI said, driven by demand for holidays to long-haul
destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and United States.
That growing appetite for holidays further afield helped TUI
post core earnings growth of 12.5 percent in its 2015/2016
financial year, despite a difficult geopolitical backdrop.
Holidaymakers turned their backs on formerly popular Turkey
in 2016 after a series of bombings and a failed coup, forcing
travel companies to shift customers to Spanish and Portuguese
destinations in the western Mediterranean.
TUI was less impacted by the Turkish issue than its smaller
rival Thomas Cook, the market leader in that country.
Both companies, however, also had to contend with Britain's
vote in June to leave the European Union, which sent the value
of the pound plunging, and led to worries that Britons would
have less money to spend on holidays.
But to date, British holidaymakers have not been affected.
"If you think about Brexit, I would say I don't see a
negative impact," Joussen said.
"The early bookings are indicating that it will be a good
summer also next year despite Brexit."
TUI said that at constant currency rates, core underlying
profit (EBITA) came in at 1.030 billion euros ($1.11 billion) in
the 12 months ended Sept. 30, up 12.5 percent compared to the
year before, and in line with its forecast for growth of between
12 and 13 percent.
Shares in TUI, which also said a plan to sell its Travelopia
arm was on track, traded up 0.6 percent to 1,072.5 pence at 0920
($1 = 0.9291 euros)
(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton and David