E-bookers struggles to weather SARS storm

30 May 2003

Pan-European online travel agency Ebookers, which maintains its development and design office in Ireland, has admitted that some of its businesses have been affected by SARS and the geo-political situation. The company added that it is cautious about its second quarter results, a seasonally weak quarter.

Despite the tough trading conditions the company said that it is confident that it will continue with its positive upward trend after reporting a 113pc increase in turnover in its first quarter results earlier this month to £14.3m sterling, as well as a 42pc organic growth.

In a trading statement issued this morning, the company said: “Having announced our first profit in Q1 2003 we are still cautious about Q2 2003 which is a seasonally weaker quarter. Current trading and margins leave us very confident about the underlying trend in our business.”

The company said that the integration of TravelBag into its business and the introduction of new technologies such as booking engines and a five stage booking process for Ebookers UK have proved successful.

The company’s CEO Dinesh Dhamija said: “Overall we are very encouraged by the rebound in the market and expect a strong performance for the remainder of the year and in future in the rapidly expanding European online travel market. ebookers plc is one of the best positioned to take advantage of the pan-European growth in online travel.”

Nasdaq and London Stock Exchange-quoted Ebookers turned in its first profit last November and has websites in 12 European countries, including Ireland.

In October, the Irish subsidiary Ebookers announced plans to expand with the creation of 20 new jobs in a new office management project team and European training and business development centre in Dublin. The expansion will bring employment at Ebookers Ireland to approximately 80 people.

Ebookers’ Irish business has grown over 300pc year-on-year since it was established in July 2000 and the company anticipates revenues of €7m this year. Over 50pc of the company’s business comes from companies booking for themselves online and over 30,000 customers subscribe to the company’s fortnightly ezine.

By John Kennedy