Intercontinental profits rise as merger talks heat up

INTERCONTINENTAL Hotels Group (IHG) posted a rise in first half sales and profits yesterday as rumours of a merger between the hotelier and Starwood Hotels & Resorts re-emerged. The company, which denied the takeover talks, reported a nine per cent rise in operating profits to $337m (£216m) while revenue per available room increased by 5.1 per cent.