November 8, 2011 / 12:14 PM / 8 years ago

InterContinental revenue growth slows in October

LONDON (Reuters) - World No.1 hotelier InterContinental Hotels Group Plc (IHG.L) said revenue growth had slowed in October as unrest in the Middle East impacted trading, overshadowing third quarter profit which was at the top end of expectations.

Growth in revenue per available room (RevPAR), a key industry measure, slowed to 4.7 percent in October from 6.4 percent in the third quarter, the hotelier said on Tuesday.

InterContinental, home to the Crowne Plaza as well as Holiday Inn and InterContinental brands, said political unrest had led to a significant decline in revenue at its 10 hotels in Egypt and two hotels in Bahrain.

“What we saw in October was a slowdown in our reported numbers in Europe but there are reasons behind that. In the back end of the month and into November the pace looks quite good,” Chief Executive Richard Solomons told reporters on a conference call.

InterContinental said $2 million (1 million pound) had been knocked off its operating profit in the third quarter as a result of the impact on bookings from the Middle East unrest and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan earlier this year. It expects the full year impact to be $15 million, in line with previous guidance.

Shares in InterContinental, which have lost over a quarter of their value since February, were down 3.7 percent to 1,054 pence at 1120 GMT, valuing the business at 3.1 billion pounds.

InterContinental, which runs over 4,400 hotels, posted a 33 percent rise in third-quarter operating profit to $153 million, driven by strong growth in China and the United States.

Market expectations had ranged between $138 million and $153 million, according to a company-supplied poll of nine analysts.

Solomon told reporters the group’s mid-market brands had showed resilience in an uncertain economic environment.

“One of the important measures for us is that whatever the market environment, our brands continue to outperform which is what they have done consistently right through this year,” he said.

The company was boosted by 8 percent growth in RevPAR in its key U.S. market, where it benefited from the relaunch of Holiday Inn, and 10.8 percent growth in China.

“The tail winds of the hotel industry look very good in terms of the demographics and developing markets,” Solomons said. “In some of our markets, particularly in Asia and parts of the Middle East, the economic picture is good and activity remains strong.”

InterContinental said total revenue rose by 11 percent in the third quarter to $467 million.

Major hoteliers that have reported results recently have been generally upbeat as uncertainty in the global economy failed to put a dent in corporate travel.

Accor (ACCP.PA) said in October it had yet to see signs of an economic slowdown and expected steady growth to continue in the fourth quarter.

Starwood HOT.N swung to a third-quarter profit and raised its profit outlook for the year while Marriott’s third-quarter profit beat market expectations.

“IHG’s share price has recovered slightly from its August lows but still represents good value — it is valued at just over half the multiple of Starwood,” said Evolution analyst Nigel Parson.

Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Adveith Nair and Elaine Hardcastle

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