Friday 10 May 2019 9:19 am

Millennium & Copthorne profits plunge after major refurbs at luxury hotels

Upmarket hotel chain Millennium & Copthorne has posted a steep drop in first-quarter profits and revenues due to major refurbishment projects.

The company, which is chaired by Singaporean billionaire Kwek Leng Beng, reported pre-tax profit of £11m for the quarter, down almost 60 per cent from £26m the year before.

Read more: Millennium & Copthorne hotel profits plummet

Millennium & Copthorne said the decline was due to refurbishment projects at its London and Singapore hotels.

The firm’s flagship Mayfair hotel has been closed since July last year, and is set to reopen in the spring as the rebranded Biltmore following a franchise agreement with Hilton Hotels.

The Orchard Hotel in Singapore has also been under phased refurbishment since the middle of 2017. As a result, the group’s revenue also slipped just under one per cent over the quarter.

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

“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.”

Despite the sliding profits, shares in the hotel chain ticked up just under half a per cent following the announcement.

Read more: Millennium & Copthorne Hotels boss steps down three months into role

Millennium & Copthorne has previously warned 2019 will be a “challenging” year, after posting a 30 per cent fall in pre-tax profit last year.

The hotel chain said it is still looking for a permanent chief executive following the abrupt departure of former boss Jennifer Fox in September after just three months in the job.

But the company said it is in the final stage of discussions with Hilton over a deal to operate the newly-renamed Millennium Times Square hotel in New York.