Karl Markgraf CEO FTI GROUP

FTI: Progress in talks with investors | Complicated process | Revenues over €4 billion, up 10% | Positive outlook for 2024


FTI Group announced a 10% increase in turnover to €4.1 billion in FY22/23, compared to the previous year, with the group also planning double-digit growth for this year and the search for investors “also making progress”.

The group, which has been in the spotlight due to concerns over its sustainability, presents its financial results and business plans just ahead of the ITB 2024 International Tourism Fair.

According to a statement, by making investments in digital transformation and more efficient processes and systems, FTI has been able to continue its growth trajectory, supported by the positive global development of the tourism industry.

Positive outlook for 2023/2024

Therefore, the company is optimistic about the upcoming summer and the current financial year: ‘The early booking campaigns have been well received by customers and bookings for next season are already very promising. We are currently recording double-digit percentage growth in summer departures, compared to the previous year,” summarizes FTI Group CEO Karl Markgraf.

With regard to the entire 2023/24 financial year, the group foresees a growth path. “Given the positive signs of bookings, we plan to increase sales and profits for the current 2023/2024 financial year by double-digit growth compared to the previous year,” says the FTI CEO.

Taking issue with speculation about a strained financial situation, Mr Markgraf says that repayment of debt capital – aid to the crown and bank liabilities – as well as commission payments and other obligations from ongoing activities are taken into account in liquidity planning.

FTI has already succeeded in reducing the corpuscular aid from the German economic stabilisation fund (WSF) by means of an extraordinary repayment.

Digital transformation

The FTI Group has made significant progress in digital transformation and the improvement of processes and systems in recent months. “We are now combining our traditionally extensive and high quality product range with good sales accessibility and even more efficient systems, which will enable us to further increase customer satisfaction and improve the relationship with our partners,” says Mr Markgraf.

This involved a significant integration effort, as a large number of systems had to be merged across the individual companies.

“As part of our transformation process, we are currently harmonising our systems for payment transactions with hotels, which often differ depending on the destination,” the group head notes.

Good progress in talks with investors

The search for an investor to provide new capital, notably for investments in digital transformation, is making progress. “We are working with our main shareholder, the banks and the representatives of the institutions responsible for strengthening the corpus in a spirit of trust towards the immediate completion of the process,” says Mr Markgraf. He did not mention names, but several media outlets report negotiations with US investor Certares.

He also speaks of a complicated process in the search for investors, with the term “complicated” explained by the fact that the group had sales of more than €4 billion last year and has 120 individual companies, many of them abroad.

Egypt and Australia lead the way

In the package holiday sector, Egypt was the best-selling destination in winter. “We are very confident that the Egyptian market will grow strongly. As we expected, geopolitical tensions have not extended to the tourism sector and we are closely monitoring developments in the region,” says Mr.

Markgraf. However, this year’s ITB partner country, Oman, also saw a significant increase in demand compared to last year, as did Malta, which attracts visitors with attractive prices and a wide range of offers during the cold season, and Oceania – particularly Australia – in the long-haul segment.

For the summer, the Sultanate of Oman is once again in favour of travellers, with double-digit year-on-year sales growth, as are Turkey, Tunisia and the countries of south-east Europe, which offer excellent value for money, according to FTI.

Italy, which remained relatively stable in terms of prices, also entered the top travel agent ranking. “For low-budget customers and families, we have a wide choice to offer in Albania, which is a trend, which is included in our programme for the first time, as well as Slovenia, Bulgaria, Tunisia and Turkey, which will also put as little strain as possible on the holiday budget in 2024,” says Markgraf.

The tour operator continues to report increasing demand for long-haul travel, even beyond Australia, with Mr Markgraf explaining: “For many people, the experience factor is becoming increasingly important and far-flung countries are particularly exciting with their exoticism, unfamiliar landscapes and different cultures. Therefore, the emphasis is increasingly on individual travel, including round trips, but with the security of a tour operator, and this offers us clear growth potential.”

The FTI Group is exhibiting at ITB Berlin, stand 201 in hall 25.

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