We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
Director, Investor Relations, Amadeus IT Group
This morning Amadeus announced strong results for 2014, supported by successful expansion in both Distribution and IT Solutions and by the contribution from the consolidation of our M&A activity earlier in the year.
In Distribution we exceeded industry growth by 2.0 percentage points with air travel agency bookings rising 5.2% to 466.5 million and our market share expanded by 0.7 percentage points to reach 40.7%.Our out-performance was partly driven in the last part of the year by the migration of travel agencies previously connected to Topas in South Korea.
Meanwhile in IT Solutions our Passengers Boarded increased by 12.9% to total 695.4 million. This was driven by the migration of more airlines to Altéa in 2013 and 2014. At the close of the year, 133 airlines globally were contracted for Altéa. We expect Altéa to continue to grow steadily until year-end 2017, by which time we expect to achieve close to one billion passengers boarded per year.
Important progress was also made in our new business areas of IT solutions for airport, hotel and rail. Airport IT continues to gain traction in the ground handling market through our Altéa DCS for Ground Handlers solution; whilst our recently launched Airport Common Use Service (ACUS) offering had a very positive reception in the market; and our portfolio of airport management solutions continued to gradually grow its customer base. In Hotel IT and Rail IT, we continued our progress with InterContinental Hotels Group and BeneRail International, with the aim of developing IT community platforms for these sectors.
We believe Amadeus is uniquely placed to address these new market opportunities and to drive innovation in these segments based on our travel sector expertise and focus on technology. We remain committed to innovation through our continued investment in R&D, which in 2014 increased by 8.7%, reaching 15.9% of our revenue.
These operational successes delivered strong overall group financial results. Including recent acquisitions, year-on-year adjusted profit grew 9.9% to €681.1 million. Revenues increased 10.1%, to €3,417.7 million, and EBITDA grew 9.9%, to €1,306.0 million.
Our resilient transaction-based business model also allowed us to continue to generate cash flow and improve our financial stability. We maintain a flexible financial structure with net debt at 1.32x EBTIDA (€1,738.5 million at December 31, 2014).
Additionally, we announced in December a share buyback programme worth €320 million that will remain in force until May 29, 2015. The Board of Directors has also proposed a 50% pay-out target ratio for 2014 and will submit a final gross dividend of €0.70 per share from the 2014 reported profit, an increase of 12% vs. the 2013 dividend – returning €313.3m to shareholders for the 2014 year.
For more information, you can find the press release and other documents published today on our Investor Relations website. There you can find a wide range of financial facts and figures; you can also download the Amadeus Investor App to view our share graph and more on your smart phone.
Our next financial calendar announcement is scheduled for May, when we will announce financial results for the first quarter of 2015. That will be followed soon after with the publication of our Global Report for 2014, ahead of the Shareholder General Meeting (SGM) in June.