(Alliance News) - Hostelworld Group PLC on Wednesday reported noteworthy first half earnings performance as the company makes strides to reduce debt.

The Dublin-based online travel agent focused on the hostel market said in the first half that ended June 30, net bookings rose 8.8% to 3.7 million from 3.4 million last year, driven by record performance in Asia and Central America.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increased 88% to EUR9.6 million from EUR5.1 million, as margins rose to 21% from 11%.

Net revenue marginally moved upwards 1.3% to EUR46.4 million from EUR45.8 million.

Net average booking value fell 10% to EUR13.60 from EUR15.15 due to a greater proportion of bookings in Asia and a slight increase in solo customers.

The company's closing cash position was down 53% to EUR5.0 million from EUR10.7 million, while

net debt fell 84% to EUR2.6 million from EUR16.2 million.

Chief Executive Officer Gary Morrison said: "Over the balance of the year, we expect consumer demand for low cost destinations to continue..I am also pleased that marketing expense as a proportion of revenue has improved significantly year-on-year resulting in a 23% increase in net margin."

Hostelworld shares were down 4.9% to 154.00 pence each in London on Wednesday morning.

By Elijah Dale, Alliance News reporter

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