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AAP

2013-02-07

Travel site Webjet is forecasting a net profit growth of 15 per cent for the full year after posting a modest half year profit of 2.9 per cent.

The six months to December 31 provided Webjet with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $8.5 million, compared to a result of $8.2 million in 2011.

The company said the modest growth was due to a one-off spend of $1.6 million associated with the acquisition of Asia Pacific travel agency Zuji and the Dubai launch of Lots of Hotels, an accommodation business catering to the Middle Eastern and African markets.

The acquisition led to a half-year net profit of $5.7 million, down five per cent from a $6 million net profit in 2011/12.

The company said in its results it had revised forecast EBITDA and net profit guidance on a normalised basis to 15 per cent for the full year.

Webjet's managing director John Guscic said he was aiming to have Lotsofhotels.com in 12 markets within the first six months of 2012 and expects to break even within six months.

Webjet bought Zuji from Travelocity.com for $25 million in December.

"We are pleased with the continued strong profit growth achieved in a generally flat leisure travel market," Mr Guscic said.

Webjet's seven per cent increase in booking numbers countered a general market deflation of four to five per cent, he said.

A fully franked interim dividend of six cents per share, totalling $4.76 million, is payable on April 11.

Webjet's shares were trading 15 cents lower, or 3.02 per cent, to $4.82.