ONLINE travel business yesterday announced plans to cut 350 jobs across the UK as part of a drive to reduce costs by ten per cent in the next financial year.

The business review, which follows a string of acquisitions, is likely to result in the consolidation of 25 offices into 15, including the loss of six offices in the UK.

Announcing third quarter figures, lastminute also said total transaction values in the three months to June 30 increased 78.2 per cent to £268.9m.

It described the period as a challenging one for the travel industry, but said it had still increased underlying earnings for the quarter to £4.3m, from £4.1m a year earlier.

In the current quarter - covering the busiest period of the year for lastminute - the company said last month's trading had suggested it could attract £400m-worth of transactions. Chairman Allan Leighton said: ''The move by the consumer to be even more last minute makes our unique model more relevant than ever.

"However, the summer quarter, as always, remains both key and difficult to predict."

The company provides travel and leisure offers in 13 European countries and has three international joint ventures. It employs about 2,400 people.