Thomas Cook admits the rest of the year looks ' challenging' despite strong summer sales in recent weeks.
The beleaguered tour operator reports an operating loss of £26.5 million for the third quarter, compared to a profit of £20.1 million for the same quarter in 2011, which it says reflects the difficult trading conditions across all markets.
However new group chief executive Harriet Green, who joined on 30 July, says she intends to present a new recovery plan in Spring 2013.
In her first statement she said: "My initial focus is to review our businesses, quickly establish priorities and develop a clear plan to reinvigorate Thomas Cook, which I expect to be able to present to you next Spring.
"The Group has been through a difficult period, but much has been achieved which has strengthened the balance sheet and improved liquidity.
"The strength of the Group's brands and the quality of its businesses and people provides a foundation from which to bring the business back to full strength."
Cumulative UK bookings were down 1% compared to 2011 although the operator claims the UK turnaround plan remains on track.
Mainstream bookings have shown a significant improvement in recent weeks and there is now 33% less left to sell.
However, it described sales of Olympic and Paralympic packages to corporate customers as "challenging".
Exceptional costs of £33.2m were recognised in the quarter, compared to £35.3m in the same quarter of 2011.
Thomas Cook says these were mainly due to the reorganisation costs in the UK, North America and West Europe segments and professional fees relating to the Group's financing.
Net debt at 30 June 2012 was £1,099.3m compared to £902.5m in 2011.
Cook said it remains committed to reducing the net debt of the Group through operational improvement and continues to review other non-core assets for potential disposal.
Thomas Cook said: "The outlook for this year remains challenging.
"However, recent booking trends are encouraging and the UK turnaround plan is delivering against its objectives. We expect that in the fourth quarter the variance will narrow delivering a full year result broadly in line with expectations."
By Diane Evans
Thursday, August 2, 2012