Webjet lifts FY11 profit 5%

Travel website operator Webjet (ASX:WEB) grew its FY11 profit 5% to $11 million, and has an upbeat outlook for the current year despite the poor forecasts for the retail sector.

Managing director John Guscic said the record profit was achieved entirely on the back of its core operations in Australia and New Zealand, where underlying profit grew 10%.

This growth absorbed the impact of expected initial operating losses in the USA and Asia, totalling around $700,000.

Revenue grew 18% to $45.7 million, and total transaction values (TTV) grew 17% to $592 million.

The company is forecasting at least 10% growth in TTV for FY12, noting that travel has been outperforming the generally weak retail sector, and that Webjet is benefiting from the shift in travel sales from traditional channels to online.

Webjet announced a 6 cent per share dividend for the second half, taking the total for the year to 11 cents – up from 10.5 cents in FY12.

On the basis of the results, the company plans to buy back up to 5% more of its issued shares, through a buy back program that has now been extended into the present year.

WEB shares grew 3.93% in Thursday's trading to $1.850.