Cruising is key as Louis slashes losses by 56%.
STRONGER earnings from its cruise operations helped Louis plc improve its results in 2009 as it plots a return to profitability this year.
Posting a loss of ?13.7m ($18.7m), the Cyprus listed tourism group underlined that based on current market conditions it is forecasting it will end 2010 in the black.
A strategy of internationally diversifying operations, finding new sources of income in the cruising segment and cutting costs ?continues with success?, the company said in a statement.
Last year Louis slashed losses by 56% compared with its net loss of ?31.3m in 2008.
Operating profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and hotel rents rose by 50% to ?60.3m.
The best performance came from Louis Cruises, which boosted revenues by ?5.4m while curbing operating expenses by ?16m in comparison with the previous year.
The group"s hotel operations cut expenses by ?8.2m, but this only partly absorbed a ?9.8m decline in revenues.
?It is clear from the above that the measures taken early on by Louis to tackle the crisis and contain costs were effective,? said a management statement.
The strategy had ?enabled the company to present this significant improvement for one of the most difficult years worldwide and while operating in tourism, a highly vulnerable sector?.
Louis" total turnover fell by 1.6% compared with 2008. A 3% increase in cruising revenues partly offset an 11% slump in revenues from the hotel sector.
Louis said that hedging policies adopted last year included converting most of its dollar borrowings into euros and pounds sterling to ?better match annual cash inflows in each currency, with the respective annual cash outflows?. It has also fixed pricing for more than 50% of its fuel requirements for 2010.
The group owns 13 cruiseships, of which four are long term chartered, while the hotel division operates 20 hotels in Greece and Cyprus.