Accor cautious on 2012, southern Europe slows

PARIS Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:10am EDT

PARIS Aug 29 (Reuters) - Europe's largest hotel group, Accor, said it was cautious about full-year profit growth prospects as demand for hotel rooms slows in southern Europe and visibility is limited in the second half due to an uncertain economic climate.

The French company, with more than 4,400 hotels ranging from the luxury Sofitel to the budget Ibis chains, posted a 10.1 percent rise in like-for-like first-half earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to 212 million euros ($266 million) on Wednesday, in line with expectations.

The world's fourth-largest hotel group behind the InterContinental, Marriott and Starwood chains predicted 2012 EBIT would be in a range of 510-530 million euros against 515 million in 2011, restated for the sale of its Motel 6 unit.

This was below the average of market expectations of 533 million euros, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates.

Accor, which sold troubled U.S. budget hotel business Motel 6 for $1.9 billion in May, is accelerating its growth in emerging markets in Asia-Pacific and Latin America. ($1 = 0.7958 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by James Regan)

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