InterContinental profit down as business travellers melt away

City A.M. Reporter
THE World's biggest hotel firm InterContinental has warned that without a
return of business customers its fortunes will not improve after profit fell
34 per cent last year.

InterContinental – which owns the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inns brands –
said trends in the fourth quarter of last year showed some improvements.

Occupancy at its hotels stabilized but room rates are under pressure.
Shares in the group dropped by around 2 per cent after the figures were

Chief executive Andrew Cosslett said: “The fourth quarter did show some
improvement in trends and occupancy has now stabilised.

"Rates, however, remain under pressure and we expect trading to stay tough until business travellers return in greater numbers.”

Revenue per available room fell by 14.7 per cent with a fourth quarter fall
of 10.9 per cent. The decline for last month was just 3.8 per cent.

It opened 26,828 new rooms last year, lower than in 2008 because of the
scarcity of financing for development.

The group, which has 4,438 around the globe and makes 70 per cent of its
profit in the US.

It paid a final dividend of 29.2 cents a share, making an unchanged full
year payout of 41.4 cents.

The group, which also runs Staybridge Suites and Hotel Indigo, said it was
on track with its $1bn re-launch of Holiday Inn.