October 3, 2016 / 9:36 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-ITE says Q4 bookings hurt by Turkey coup attempt

(Adds background, company comments)

Oct 3 (Reuters) - Exhibition organiser ITE Group Plc said on Monday that the attempted coup in Turkey in July had “significantly affected” international travel to the country, hurting the company’s bookings on Turkish events.

The company’s shares fell as much as 4.2 percent before paring losses to trade at 156.5 pence at 0845 GMT on the London Stock Exchange.

Turkey, which accounts for 12 percent of the company’s sales, is set to host the East Mediterranean International Tourism and Travel Fair (EMITT) organised by ITE in January 2017.

The event’s website says 71 countries are expected to participate with exhibitors in fields ranging from travel agencies to medical tourism. The company expects over 25,000 visitors to attend the EMITT fair in Istanbul.

Peel Hunt said in a note that the event is likely to be heavily impacted by the coup attempt. The brokerage cut its estimate for ITE’s full-year 2017 pretax profit by 6.5 percent to 34.5 million pounds, and earnings by 8 percent to 10.3 pence per share.

Investec said the key challenges for CEO Mark Shashoua would be stability in Turkey and leveraging macro-economic conditions in Russia, and future merger activity going forward.

ITE declined to comment about business prospects in Turkey and the challenging environment in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Russia and the CIS accounted for over 40 percent of total revenue in the first half of this year.

ITE reported an 8 percent fall in like-for-like revenue in its fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, despite benefits from the post-Brexit weakness of the pound.

Revenue for the period remained flat at 23 million pounds ($29.63 million).

ITE maintained its full-year 2016 revenue forecasts at 133 million pounds and added that it expected to see material benefits from the improvement in relations between the Russian Federation and Turkey from 2018. ($1 = 0.7762 pounds) (Reporting by Sanjeeban Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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