Webjet's decision to raise its earnings guidance for the full year has failed to significantly boost the confidence of investors who appear wary of a flat leisure travel market.
Webjet shares fell as much as 5 per cent on Thursday after the online travel company posted a 4 per cent fall in net profit to $5.6 million for the first half.
Webjet has forecast a 15 per cent rise in pre-tax earnings for the full financial year, which is an improvement on its previous guidance of an increase of "at least" 10 per cent.
Although its bottom line weakened, Webjet pointed to a 24 per cent rise to $7.3 million in "normalised" net profit. The figure excludes $1.6 million in one-off costs from the purchase of some of Zuji's online travel operations and an investment in an online business in Dubai.
Webjet's chief executive, John Guscic, said the growth in normalised net profit was pleasing because it was achieved in a "generally flat leisure travel market".
Mr Guscic said a 7 per cent rise in bookings offset softness in the leisure end of the travel market, helping Webjet to increase both market share and total transaction value (the price at which travel products and services are sold).
Total revenue rose 13 per cent to almost $32 million for the six months to December.
Webjet will pay an interim dividend of 6c a share on April 11, unchanged on the prior period.
An RBS Morgans analyst, Belinda Moore, said the half-year result was "more modest" than previous years but the period had always been seen as one in which Webjet would invest in new businesses.
She said investors expected Webjet to experience "strong growth" in earnings next financial year.
Shares in Webjet recovered some of the lost ground by noon on Thursday to be down 17c at $4.80, still within striking distance of an all-time high of $5.03 on Monday.