Lion Travel aims to grow, citing strong momentum

SEEKING NEW MARKETS::Southeast Asian nations have also become markets that tourism-related firms could ‘not ignore’ for future growth, the company said

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - Page 13

Lion Travel Service Co Ltd (雄獅旅行社), the nation’s biggest travel agency by market share, aims to expand its sales by 2.5-fold in five years, citing strong momentum in demand for travel services from China and Southeast Asia, a company official said yesterday.

Lion Travel’s stock price rallied more than 23 percent from its listing price of NT$78 to NT$89.8 on its debut on the local stock market yesterday.

Newly listed stocks are not restricted by the 7 percent daily trade limit during their first five days of trading.

“Within a five-year period, we expect sales from China to reach the same level as that of sales from Taiwan,” Lion Travel chairman Jason Wang (王文傑) told a media briefing after the company’s listing ceremony.

Wang said the deciding factor will be how soon the Chinese government lifts the ban to allow Taiwanese travel agencies to do outbound travel services to China.

Even without the easing of regulations, Lion Travel has seen its business in China break even in the first half of this year, Wang added.

Southeast Asia nations have also become markets that tourism-related companies could “not ignore” to secure future growth, Wang said, adding that Lion Travel also expects revenue from Southeast Asia to increase significantly in the coming years.

That may make consolidated sales of Lion Travel show a 2.5-fold growth in five years, adding the momentum in the market of Taiwan, Wang said.

Following the continuing sluggish trend of the Japanese yen, as well as the recovering momentum for global economy, Waterland Securities Investment Consulting Co (國票證券投資顧問) said Lion Travel’s profitability may continue its expansion pace next year.

The firm posted NT$162.06 million (US$5.47 million), or NT$2.65 per share, in net profit in the first six months, nearly tripling its net income of NT$56.44 million, or NT$1.04 per share, in the same period last year, Lion Travel’s statement showed.

Earnings in the first half of the year were also higher than the NT$136.45 million, or NT$2.35 per share, the agency made in the whole of last year, company data showed.

Consolidated sales totaled NT$7.19 billion in the first half of this year, up from NT$6.16 billion recorded during the same period last year, data showed.