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Results preview: Will Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd soar higher?

Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) has continued to prove to investors that it is a high quality business with the company managing to shake off the headwind of a weakening Australian dollar to see its share price climb by over 13% in the past six months.

That’s a solid performance considering the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has fallen by close to 10% over the same time frame.

The gains could be considered slightly surprising considering the results reported for the 12 months ending 30 June 2015…

Flight Centre recorded revenue growth of 6.8% to $2.4 billion but underlying net profit after tax growth slipped 3.3% to $255 million after pressure on margins.

Despite the slip in profits, the group did manage to hold both the interim and final dividends steady year on year while also reducing debt to just $33 million with the company boasting a cash balance of around $500 million.

No doubt it was the positive outlook statement for financial year 2016 which helped the company’s share price…

Flight Centre provided guidance at the time of the group’s full year results in August for underlying profit before tax of between $380 million and $395 million implying mid-to-high single digit growth year on year.

At the company’s annual general meeting in October this outlook was reaffirmed with the Managing Director Graham Turner noting that year-to-date performance had been in line with expectations.

According to Thomson Consensus Estimates, Flight Centre is expected to achieve earnings per share of 265 cents per share this year.

With the share price trading at around $39, this equates to a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.7 times. That’s a multiple below the market average and the company’s long-term median and average P/Es, which could see the share price zoom higher if the interim results (scheduled for release on February 24) please investors.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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