Wotif profits down as travellers stay home
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A deep drop in hotel bookings across Asia, Europe and the United States has dragged down earnings at online travel agency wotif.com.
The group's first half net profit fell 4.6 per cent as revenue from hotel bookings in Asia and other countries dropped by nearly a fifth.
Wotif fared better at home, with a one per cent rise in revenue from accommodation bookings in Australia and New Zealand.
Revenue from flight sales also rose 11 per cent despite the lacklustre local retail conditions.
Investors were disappointed with the result, pushing wotif's shares down by more than 10 per cent in early trade.
Newly-installed chief executive Scott Blume said the group had also faced increased costs related to marketing, staff, and maintenance of its websites during the first half.
He said money would continue to be ploughed into developing staff and the group's websites, which also include the lastminute.com.au and LateStays.com travel websites.
"Over the coming months I will be working with the team on ways in which we can leverage our significant internal intellectual property in the online space for further growth to the benefit of all our stakeholders," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
Wotif's net profit fell to $27.5 million in the half year to December 31, from $28.8 million a year earlier.
Total revenue fell one per cent to $73.2 million.
The company maintained its interim fully-franked dividend at 11.5 cents.
Wotif's shares were 42 cents, or 7.2 per cent, lower at $5.42 at 1502 AEDT.