Minoan Group says its focus has turned in earnest to its plans to create a luxury resort in Crete following the sale last year of Scottish agency chain Stewart Travel.
In a trading update issued on Wednesday (31 July), Minoan revealed the Stewart sale helped the group cut its half-year (year to 30 April) operating loss £312,000 from £593,000 to £281,000.
However, the group’s H1 pre-tax loss grew from £1.095 million to £1.144 million compared with the same time last year.
Minoan acquired Stewart in March 2012 but placed it up for sale in March last year. A management buyout was completed last October, with support from private investor Zachary Asset Holdings.
The move has allowed Minoan to shift its focus onto its flagship resort project in Crete.
Chairman Christopher Egleton said the group wanted to thank shareholders and the board for their backing in the months following the sale of Stewart, adding the company’s ambitions had been boosted by the new Greek government’s pledge “to encourage all forms of investment in the country”.
“Yields on Greek bonds have dropped to all-time lows in the past few weeks, a clear sign of confidence the country is now through the worst and, if commentators are to be believed, entering a period of stability and economic growth not seen for more than a decade,” said Egleton.
“This atmosphere and the stated policies of the new government augur well for the company’s project and its value.”
Minoan has outlined planning permission for a development set on a 6,000-acre peninsula plot in Crete boasting 28 kilometres of coastline.
The secluded resort will be split across five main locations, with Minoan claiming it will be “one of the most environmentally friendly and soft-impact major resort projects in Europe”.
It is served by “steadily improving” travel and transport infrastructure, including a recently upgraded main road linking it to Crete’s capital Heraklion and nearby Sitia International airport.
The group has recruited a new design team to work on the project, and is working on a new masterplan. Negotiations with potential partners, including hoteliers, are ongoing.