The financial year 2014-15 can best be described as a year of
rejuvenation. After the very significant developments within the
company over the last few years, it was time to marshal our strength
towards the organic growth opportunities available within our core
Despite a rather tepid global economic environment, the company''s
revenues and operating earnings grew at a robust pace in FY15. Our key
domains - Leisure and Education - saw both growth and improved margins,
and our management team were able to further strengthen our market
dominance in each of our four major divisions.
Cox & Kings derives most of its revenues from sectors which are in
periods of sustainable growth. Our Education business is remarkably
suited to prosper in the 21st century as methods of education undergo a
sea change. Our budget hotel brand - Meininger - is ideally positioned
to grow rapidly in an environment where there is increasing demand for
attractively priced clean, safe and comfortable accommodation at city
centres, airports and tourist attractions. Our Leisure brands - both
in India and abroad - are very strong in their respective domains and
are poised to exploit the new-age global consumer''s penchant to use
travel as a driver of personal growth.
During the financial year we took steps to reduce debt and hive off
non-core businesses. Among them was the sale of Holidaybreak''s Camping
Division to Homair Vacances, a group that specialises in outdoor
holidays and is a major player in France. The sale of camping is
consistent with our strategy of becoming a Leisure and Education travel
group and allows us to focus on those businesses that have a global
footprint and market leadership position.
We also completed a Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP), raising
Rs.1000 crore, in the financial year, the proceeds for which was used
to retire debt.
In lndia, travel and tourism is one of the largest service industries
and the country is at an exciting phase in its development with the
government undertaking concrete steps to make India a safe and
desirable destination for international travellers. Ease of entry for
international tourists and renewed emphasis on ease of doing business
are some of the steps. If the government keeps its commitment to
implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST), it will rationalise the
tax structure and put the industry in a better position to compete with
As we enter another exciting year, I would like to thank our employees,
our business partners, our bankers, our millions of customers, and last
but not least, our loyal shareholders, who have stood by us through
thick and thin.