Germany's TUI AG , owner of Europe's largest tour operator TUI Travel , said it expects to post a net profit in its current fiscal year as it passes on rising input costs to holidaymakers and weathers strong economic headwinds.

Turnover and operating earnings will grow moderately in the twelve months through the end of September, it said.

Nonetheless, it warned that the times ahead will be tough.

The environment will remain challenging in the light of weaker economic growth in Europe and persistently high energy costs, Chief Executive Michael Frenzel said in a statement on Wednesday.

For the fiscal year that ended in September, TUI AG reported its underlying earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) edged up 1.8 percent to 600.1 million euros (505.1 million pounds).

That included an 83 million euro hit from unrest in North Africa and was just above the 590 million euro average estimate in a Reuters poll of analysts.

TUI Travel, which takes 30 million people on holiday each year, earlier this month reported better than expected full-year profit, in stark contrast to rival Thomas Cook, which requested help from its banks after a series of profit warnings.

TUI Travel said, however, that bookings for the winter season had slowed and that it was seeing late bookings, which are more common when times get tough for consumers.

French holiday operator Club Med said on Friday winter season bookings had slowed in recent weeks and it was cautious over the prospects for 2012.

Container shipping business Hapag-Lloyd , which TUI AG has been trying to exit, contributed a 2 million euro loss to the company's full-year results.

TUI inched closer to exiting Hapag-Lloyd on Tuesday by deciding to tender a 33.3 percent stake in the container shipper to its majority shareholders, the Albert Ballin consortium.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan)