UPDATE 1-InterContinental profit rise led by U.S. growth

Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:48am EST

LONDON Feb 18 (Reuters) - InterContinental Hotels Group , the world's biggest hotelier, posted an 11 percent rise in 2012 profit, underpinned by a strong U.S. business and expansion in developing markets.

The hotelier, home to the Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and InterContinental brands, on Tuesday reported a 2012 operating profit of $614 million, ahead of a $605 million company supplied consensus estimate.

Annual revenue rose 5 percent to $1.84 billion, while the dividend rose 16 percent to 64 cents.

Growth in global revenue per available room (RevPAR), a key hotel industry measure, grew 5.2 percent in 2012, with its core U.S. market 6.3 percent ahead and China up 5.4 percent.

The British group, which operates more than 670,000 rooms in over 4,500 hotels worldwide, said it was positioned for a further good performance in 2013 with January global RevPAR up 6.6 percent.

Earlier this month, Sheraton-owner Starwood posted higher-than-expected earnings and raised the lower end of its 2013 forecast for RevPAR. Marriott reports fourth quarter reports on February 19.

As part of its strategy to sell assets in return for management contracts, similar to U.S. peers like Marriott, InterContinental said it continued to market its New York Barclay Hotel and that the disposal process for its London Park Lane property had started. Analysts expect the two to fetch over $700 million.

IHG opened a net 18,000 rooms during the year and has a pipeline of around 169,000, in line with expectations.

Shares in InterContinental closed at 1989 pence on Monday, up 41 percent on a year ago, valuing the group at around 5.3 billion pounds ($8.20 billion).