Accord is upbeat on bookings

ACCOR, Europe’s largest hotel group, said it remained “watchful” but reassured investors it had not seen any impact of global recession fears on September bookings, lifting its shares as much as four per cent.

Accor, the world’s fourth-largest hotel group, also posted a 27.5 per cent rise in first-half earnings before interest and taxes to €199m (£121.4m) yesterday, in line with expectations.

Higher occupancy rates, a gradual recovery in average room rates and cost control lifted first-half earnings.

Accor gave no detailed guidance for the full year but chief financial officer Sophie Stabile told a conference call that second-half trends remained supported by the summer season’s good performance and that Accor noted no “measurable sign” of slowdown in the economy.

“We had a good trend in July and August. September bookings are rather good but we remain watchful,” she said.

Accor usually provides guidance on its full-year performance when it unveils its interim results, and Stabile said it will do so at an investor day on 13 September.

“Management says there is no slowdown at this stage, which should reassure in the short-term...This should be good news for Accor and for the sector after a violent derating,” one sector analyst said.