Investment - Articles - Is Sagas saga coming to an end

The group reported an underlying pre-tax loss of £2.8m in the half year, compared to a profit of £15.9m last year. This was in-line with expectations and reflects a “stable” performance in Insurance, offset by the suspension of the travel business, and costs associated with restarting operations. Some cruises restarted in June, while international trips resumed in August. The shares rose 1.6% following the announcement.

 Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown: “A pandemic is not a good time to be in the business of cruises. Travel restrictions plus the confined nature of cruise ships means passenger numbers dropped like an anchor over the pandemic, and still weren’t at pre-pandemic levels over the summer. However, the worst of the problems look to be clearing. Pre-tax losses are no worse than expected, the insurance business is stable, and as cruise ships are leaving ports once more, the group is ramping up efforts to get back to normal. Combine that with an effort to refinance debt and Saga now has a stronger foundation from which to rebuild.

 Unfortunately, Saga had work to do even before the pandemic. Personal insurance is a tough business, with a price comparison culture really eating into Saga’s success. Saga’s pool of more loyal, older clients is getting smaller, meaning it’s likely to become even more reliant on price competitiveness than ever.”


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