InterContinental Hotels sees improving conditions in Europe, US

Tuesday 18 February 2014 08.26
InterContinental Hotel Group owns brands including Holiday Inn & Crowne Plaza
InterContinental Hotel Group owns brands including Holiday Inn & Crowne Plaza

InterContinental Hotels Group, the world's largest hotelier, said it was increasingly confident about 2014 after strong demand in the US and improving conditions in Europe helped it to post a 10% rise in 2013 profit.

IHG said its annual pretax profit was $600 million, ahead of forecasts of $585 million, with revenue up 3.7% to $1.9 billion.

However the firm's profit after tax dropped 31% to $372 million, owing to increased charges.

The company is home to brands such as Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and InterContinental.

Global revenue per available room, a key industry measure, rose 3.8% for the year, led by solid trading in the United States, where hoteliers are benefiting from improving demand and a lower than average number of hotel rooms being added to the system.

"Looking into 2014, although economic conditions in some markets remain uncertain, forward bookings data is encouraging and we are confident that we will deliver another year of growth," Chief Executive Richard Solomons said in a statement.

In its fourth quarter, trading remained strong in its Asia and Middle East region and in the US, which accounts for roughly two thirds of IHG's operating profit, while revenue per available room increased sharply in Europe, rising from 0.7% in the first nine months to 4.9% in the final quarter.

There was also an improvement in Greater China, where IHG shrugged off slower macroeconomic conditions.

Over the year the firm raised total gross proceeds of $830 million through the disposal of three hotels, including the $120 million sale of its Mark Hopkins hotel in San Francisco, which was also announced today.

Shares in the firm, which raised its total dividend per share by 9% to 70 cents, closed at 2047 pence yesterday, up 8% on a year ago, valuing the business at around £5.3 billion.