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UK's Saga expects full-year revenue to surge on travel demand, shares jump

By Radhika Anilkumar

(Reuters) -Britain's Saga on Tuesday said it expects annual revenue to surge by up to 50% on the back of recovering cruise and travel business, sending shares of the holiday group up as much as 7.1%.

The global travel industry, after being battered by the coronavirus pandemic, is slowly rebounding as restrictions ease, economies open up and people opt to travel and take vacations.

Saga said it expects its revenue for the year to be between 40% and 50% ahead of the 377.2 million pound ($464.37 million)revenue it logged last year. Revenue from its travel business is expected to increase tenfold.

Tour bookings for the next fiscal year were strong, aided by increased demand for long-haul destinations, the company said.

Shares of the company rose as much as 7.1% to 163.2 pence-their highest since Jan. 4.

While the company saw improved performance from its ocean cruise business and travel segment during the first half, Chief Executive Euan Sutherland said it was navigating a "challenging" period for the UK motor insurance market.

"While there has been some pressure on the underwriting business, the company's retail broking result is expected to in line with expectations" he added.

On Monday, Saga said it was in talks to sell the underwriting unit of its wider insurance division to help pay down its debt.

Saga expects its net debt at the end of January to be slightly higher than the 721.3 million pounds it had projected at the end of July.

($1 = 0.8123 pounds)

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Christina Fincher)