May 10, 2019 / 6:22 AM / 3 months ago

Millennium & Copthorne's profit, room revenue fall as renovations hurt

(Reuters) - Britain’s Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Plc said on Friday group revenue per room fell in the first quarter, as ongoing renovations kept its major hotels in London and Singapore partially or fully closed.

The company, 65 percent owned by Singaporean billionaire Chairman Kwek Leng Beng’s City Developments, said profit before tax fell to 11 million pounds from 26 million pounds last year.

The company, whose Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Fox departed suddenly in September after just three months in the role, said its search for a permanent top boss was underway.

The operator of the Millennium, Grand Millennium, Copthorne and Kingsgate hotels has flagged 2019 as another challenging year, with significant capital-heavy projects underway and several large hotels earmarked for major renovations.

“Despite the uncertainties and challenges in the global economy, we remain focussed on making the best use of our hospitality assets,” Kwek Leng Beng said in a statement.

Group revenue per available room was down 0.9 percent at 70.01 pounds for the quarter ended March 31, while revenue fell 4 percent to 215 million pounds on a constant currency basis.

Ongoing renovation at its Mayfair hotel in London had already lowered revenue by 20 million pounds in 2018. It is looking to rebrand and open the hotel again by mid-2019.

“The group is prioritising the refurbishment of our key gateway city properties to reposition our hotels, whilst seeking to minimise the short-term negative impact on our trading results,” Leng Beng added.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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