Sunshine at Thomson Holidays, unlike rival Thomas Cook

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THOMSON HOLIDAYS owner TUI Travel shook off a recent warning from rival Thomas Cook about tough conditions as it posted a double-digit rise in annual earnings and said it was pleased with trading going into next year.

Underlying operating profit for the year to the end of September rose 4 per cent to £612m, or 11 per cent on a constant currency basis, with revenues 3 per cent lower at £14.6bn mainly due to exchange rate movements.

TUI said it was pleased with progress so far over the winter and said a strong start to summer 2015 had continued the momentum.

Investors cheered the figures, pushing shares up 4 per cent.

They come as the company, which also owns First Choice, prepares to complete a merger with its German parent company TUI AG, creating a firm which serves 30m customers, and owns 230 hotels and seven cruise ships.

Chief executive Peter Long said the results showed the resilience of the business “in what has been a competitive trading environment for many tour operators and airlines” and that the merger would strengthen the combined group.

TUI said its profit rise had been driven by strong performances in the UK, Germany and Holland and a halving of losses in France.