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Mar 6, 2014

Tourism industry emerges from downturn

BERLIN, March 6 (Reuters) – The outlook for the global
travel industry looks brighter for 2014 as European economic
recovery and rising consumer confidence are prompting
holidaymakers and businesses to loosen their purse strings
again.

Growth is still unevenly spread across regions, according to
comments from the industry’s biggest trade fair in Berlin this
week, with some destinations such as Egypt, China and Thailand
facing a tough time due to political turmoil, security concerns
or stricter regulations.

Mar 6, 2014

New financing choices help revive Europe’s hotel industry

BERLIN, March 6 (Reuters) – Europe’s hotel sector is finding
its financing options are the best in years as investors seek
better returns in a low interest rate environment and economies
emerge from bruising recessions, fanning optimism for the rest
of the year.

Industry executives say lenders and investors now understand
the sector better, seeing it more as a business investment than
a straight property play.

Mar 5, 2014

Lufthansa, Qatar Air clash over in-flight movies on smartphones

PARIS, March 5 (Reuters) – Germany’s Lufthansa on
Wednesday announced plans to offer wirelessly streamed movies to
passengers on trans-European flights, sparking a clash over the
future of traditional seatback systems at the world’s largest
travel fair.

Europe’s largest traditional network carrier said passengers
on some medium-haul flights would be able to stream movies, TV
programmes, music or games from an onboard server to their own
portable devices or smartphones starting from the summer.

Mar 5, 2014

Lufthansa unveils new premium economy class

BERLIN, March 5 (Reuters) – Lufthansa, Germany’s
largest airline, unveiled its new premium economy class on
Wednesday, part of a 3 billion euro investment in seats to catch
up with fast-growing rivals from the Middle East.

The airline said the new class would first be available on
long-haul flights from November on its Boeing 747-8, flying to
destinations such as Washington DC, Los Angeles or Hong Kong.

Feb 21, 2014

Security staff strike brings chaos to Frankfurt airport

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – A strike by security staff at Frankfurt airport caused flight cancellations and delayed thousands of passengers, bringing chaos to Europe’s third largest hub on Friday, the busiest day of the week for travelers.

Trade union Verdi had called on around 5,000 people who check passengers, baggage and freight at the airport to strike for the entire day to push for their pay to be brought into line with that of staff at other German airports.

Feb 20, 2014

Coach blast knocks back Egypt’s tourism recovery

FRANKFURT/PARIS, Feb 20 (Reuters) – The bombing of a coach
carrying Korean holidaymakers in the Sinai peninsula on Sunday
has dealt Egyptian tourism a hammer blow, just as it was
attempting a fragile recovery from three years of political
upheaval.

By killing two holidaymakers near one of Egypt’s biggest
sea-and-sun resorts, the Islamist militants behind the attack
have undermined Egyptian official assurances that foreigners
face no threat from the turmoil that has shaken the country
since the overthrow of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Feb 18, 2014

MTU sees flat profits as new engine investments weigh

MUNICH, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Delivering costly new engines to
meet a boom in orders for passenger jets will keep profits flat
at MTU Aero Engines this year, before its more
lucrative spare parts business benefits later this decade, it
said on Tuesday.

The German firm, which supplies planemakers Boeing,
Airbus and Bombardier, makes bigger profit
margins from selling spare parts than supplying new engines, in
which it has to invest more money, and saw its operating margin
fall by 1 percentage point to 10.1 percent in 2013.

Feb 7, 2014

Hugo Boss eyes stronger growth in 2014 as new stores drive sales

FRANKFURT, Feb 7 (Reuters) – German fashion house Hugo Boss
said it was confident of stronger growth this year as
it continues to open more of its own stores, its new womenswear
designer launches his first collection, and as the recovery in
Europe takes hold.
“We are seeing enough signs that we can grow faster in 2014
than we did in 2013,” Chief Financial Officer Mark Langer told
Reuters after the group reported a 6 percent rise in 2013 sales
on Friday.
Hugo Boss expects sales from its own stores will rise by
over 10 percent in 2014, while wholesale revenues will be flat,
Langer said.
The group, known for its men’s suits, has been moving away
from selling through partners to running its own stores, where
it has more control of how goods are displayed and what price
they are sold at, helping to improve its margins.
In a bid to shake up its womenswear business, which it has
struggled to expand as fast as originally hoped, it has hired
Jason Wu, a U.S.-based designer whose dresses have been worn by
First Lady Michelle Obama and actresses Reese Witherspoon and
Diane Kruger.
The investment in its own stores, with a further 50 planned
this year, and marketing around Wu, plus slower luxury spending
in China, means Hugo Boss last year postponed its 2015 target to
reach a 25 percent margin – core profit as a percentage of
sales.
“We are concerned that growth will again be held back this
year by additional brand investments,” Commerzbank analyst
Andreas Riemann said in a note.
Langer said the group would still be improving margins over
the next couple of years, only more slowly than expected.
Shares dropped 1.7 percent on Friday, as sales in the fourth
quarter came in slightly below expectations after growth slowed
in the United States and China remained subdued. Europe, which
makes up 60 percent of sales, developed very positively, Langer
said.
Hugo Boss reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings before
interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 157
million euros ($213.5 million) on sales of 649 million euros.
For 2013, sales rose 6 percent to 2.43 billion euros, at the
low end of its target range of 6-8 percent for both sales and
profit. EBITDA increased 7 percent to 565 million euros and
Langer said this means an increased dividend is likely.

Langer also said Hugo Boss still viewed emerging markets as
a good source of growth, despite the recent devaluation of
currencies in countries like Turkey and Brazil affecting how
much it costs to operate there.
“Emerging markets make up only 16 percent of our sales. We
see a very attractive and profitable opportunity to grow in
countries like Brazil, Turkey or Russia.”
Hugo Boss will release full annual results and a 2014
outlook on March 13.

Feb 7, 2014

Lufthansa picks Spohr as boss to lead battle on budget carriers

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has picked Carsten Spohr as its new chief executive, naming a company veteran to lead the battle against low-cost carriers and fast-growing Gulf airlines.

Germany’s largest airline has been looking for a new boss since September, when it was announced current CEO Christoph Franz would leave at the end of May to become chairman at Swiss pharmaceuticals company Roche (ROG.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Feb 6, 2014

Etihad’s stake strategy faces new test with Alitalia move

FRANKFURT/MILAN, Feb 6 (Reuters) – A potential deal to buy a
stake in troubled Italian airline Alitalia could be
the biggest test yet for Abu Dhabi-based Etihad’s strategy of
using stakes in ailing airlines as an easy way to expand its
global footprint.

Etihad’s collection of minority airline stakes stretches
from the Seychelles to Ireland and Australia, and dates back to
the purchase of an almost 30 percent stake in Air Berlin
at the end of 2011.

    • About Victoria

      "Based in Frankfurt, covering German companies in the retail, travel and leisure sectors. In my previous Reuters incarnation in London, I focused on green tech firms, utilities and an array of smallcaps that came my way on the Breaking News team. I started my career as a translator with the Financial Times in London before switching into journalism."
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