InterCon still suffering hit to hotel sales

INTERCONTINENTAL Hotels yesterday said its third quarter results were towards the top-end of weak market expectations but it continues to be heavily impacted by the global downturn in the hotels industry. <br /><br />The world&rsquo;s biggest hotelier, whose brands include Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn, said its revenue per available room (revpar) appears to have stabilised, but there are few signs of recovery to date.<br /><br />Revenue declined by 19 per cent to $401m&nbsp; (&pound;239.7m) in its third quarter ending 30 September.&nbsp; The group said that its pre-tax profits fell by 11 per cent to $111m.<br /><br />Chief executive Andy Cosslett said: &ldquo;The trading environment remains challenging. We see signs of occupancy stabilising but rate is still under considerable pressure across the board. The relaunch of Holiday Inn is gaining pace and continues to make a significant difference to the prospect of our biggest brand.&rdquo;<br /><br />Intercontinental&nbsp; said net debt was $192m lower than the same stage last year at $1.1bn.<br /><br />Growth in the number of rooms remains central to strategy. A net 11,386 rooms (87 hotels) were added to the system during the period, taking the total to 641,086 rooms (4,390 hotels<br /><br />Evolution Securities analyst Nigel Parson said: &ldquo;Intercontinental is outperforming its peers but it cannot escape the industry. In spite of selling many assets, the company remains highly operationally geared through management contracts. Hotels are a late-cycle play and next year will be muted with the supply of new rooms still coming through contributing to the anaemic recovery.&rdquo;<br />