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Tourism Holdings sees challenges

By Jane Shanahan

Wednesday 20th August 2008

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Tourism Holdings, New Zealand’s biggest campervan company, predicts challenging times for the industry over the next 18 months, which may lead to a shakeout in the number of operators.

The company today posted a 7% gain in annual profit, reflecting sales of non-core assets. Trading profit from continuing businesses fell 11% to NZ$13.3 million, it said in a statement today.

“In the short term, intense pricing pressure is likely in New Zealand as the market competes aggressively for a more price-sensitive clientele,” chairman Keith Smith said. “We foresee a reduction in the number of tourism operators and in fleet sizes as the rental sector continues to tighten.”

Tourism Holdings has sold businesses including buses, the Kelly Tarlton centre in Auckland and operations in Milford Sound to concentrate on campervans and car rentals. A high kiwi dollar has trimmed demand from tourists in Asia.

The number of short-term visitors to New Zealand fell 2% in June from a year earlier to 142,400, according to government figures.

Motorhome maker CI Munro had a $3.3 million loss last year after production was disrupted by the relocation of its plant to Hamilton from Otorohanga.

Earnings for Tourism Holdings’ rental division, excluding CI Munro, were unchanged from a year earlier while rentals rose Australia and Europe had good growth.

Rental forward bookings are 9% down on the same period last year.

The company will pay a final dividend of six cents a share, bringing total dividend for the year to 11 cents a share, unchanged from 2007.

Shares of the company fell 0.7% to NZ$1.41 and have declined 36% in the past 12 months.

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