Fiscal 1999 - Transat A.T. Inc. posts record net income of $30 million

MONTREAL, January 19/CNW/


For the year ended October 31, 1999, Transat A.T. Inc. recorded net income of $30 million, or $0.89 per share ($0.86 diluted earnings per share), compared with net income of $19.7 million, or $0.58 per share ($0.56 diluted earnings per share) in the previous year, an increase in earnings per share of slightly over 53%. Revenues rose 14.2% to $1.6 billion compared with $1.4 billion last year.

"We're especially proud of our 1999 results in both the Canadian and French markets. For the first time since Transat acquired an interest in Look Voyages, the tour operator recorded a profit. Moreover, despite a very competitive environment, particularly during the summer season for European destinations from Canada, the Corporation has demonstrated its leadership in the Canadian market and is now a major player in France,'' noted President and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Eustache.

Operating Activities
The Corporation recorded growth in all its markets, both in Canada and France. "This growth was more significant during the winter than the summer season primarily due to the new products offered in the French market (cruises, new Clubs Lookéa, sunshine destinations) and a stronger demand in Canada,'' added Mr. Eustache.

During the summer season, despite fierce competition, the Corporation posted revenue growth mainly in its Ontario and western Canadian markets. In France, excluding the effect of the exchange rate, growth was around 9%. An event that affected revenues in both Canada and France was the war in Kosovo which discouraged travelers from taking vacations in neighboring countries such as Greece and Turkey.

Several factors contributed to the Corporation's profitability in 1999. First of all, lower fuel costs (for the first nine months), higher volumes and improved load factors helped to boost results substantially. The sales price adjustment made following the increase in certain operating expenses, including the impact of the drop in the Canadian dollar against its U.S. counterpart, also enhanced the overall results.

In addition, the improved results of companies subject to significant influence and lower financial costs.

Despite the difficulties encountered in marketing vacation packages for millennium celebrations, the outlook for the coming months is good. In fact, it appears that travelers who decided not to go away during the holiday season simply delayed their departures by a few weeks or a few months at most. The number of reservations for the winter season is therefore higher than the average in past years.

"In 1999, Transat improved its performance significantly. In particular, we consolidated our presence in all our markets so we're in an excellent position to continue developing the activities that make us the leader in our industry in Canada and a dominant player in the area of creating and marketing holiday travel in Europe,'' concluded Mr. Eustache.

Transat A.T. Inc., the leader in the Canadian tourism industry, is a public corporation listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, it is involved in all aspects of the distribution of travel services and air transportation.

Its wholly-owned subsidiaries are: the airline Air Transat, tour operators Vacances Air Transat/Air Transat Holidays (Montréal, Québec City, Toronto, Vancouver and Fort Lauderdale), Vacances Air Transat (France), Nolitour (Montréal) and Regent Holidays (Toronto), as well as the Tourbec travel agency chain.

Transat A.T. Inc. holds interests in tour operators Look Voyages (98%), World of Vacations (35%), Brok'Air (39%), in Consultour/Club Voyages (50%), a travel agency franchise group, as well as in Services Haycot (50%), an airport handling services company. Vacances Air Transat holds a 66.7% interest in the incoming tour operator DMC-Transat and Look Voyages owns 49.6% of STAR Airlines.