Travel giant Thomas Cook, which is planning to close its Birkenshaw administration centre putting nearly 150 jobs at risk, cut losses by £10 million in spite of the impact of Egypt’s political turmoil on bookings in the quarter to December 31.
Revenues were £15 million lower at £1.66 billion but chief executive Harriet Green said there had been further progress in the company’s turnaround.
She also announced the £45 million sale of Preston-based Gold Medal, a supplier of long-haul flights, hotels and car hire, to Dubai travel company dnata, which is part of the Emirates Group.
The sale of the business, which employs around 470 people, means the company has met its target to raise between £100 million and £150 million from the sale of non-core businesses about 18 months ahead of schedule.
Gold Medal will continue as a supplier of long-haul scheduled flights to the Thomas Cook businesses in the UK.
Excluding Egypt, Thomas Cook said revenues in the first quarter of its financial year to December 31 grew by 4.1 per cent compared with a year earlier.
Underlying losses in the seasonally quieter trading period improved by £10 million to £56 million, reflecting the company's focus on costs.
Thomas Cook said 86 per cent of its winter programme was now sold, while the summer schedule is around 39 per cent sold, in line with last year.
Average selling prices are expected to increase as the company looks to sell a higher proportion of exclusive hotel offers to UK customers.
Thomas Cook announced recently that it is planning to pull ‘back office’ operations out of Bradford with the phased closure of its remaining administrative centre at Inmoor Road, Birkenshaw.
It follows the axing of its city centre call centre in Aldemanbury with the loss of around 500 jobs.
Cook said the transfer of work from Birkenshaw to its Peterborough base would continue throughout 2014, with the office due to close completely by the end of January 2015.