IHG returns $750m to shareholders, eyes more disposals
LONDON May 2 (Reuters) - InterContinental Hotels Group said it would return $750 million to shareholders and was considering selling off more hotels as it posted its strongest room revenue performance in seven quarters.
IHG, which runs 4,600 hotels and is home to the Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and InterContinental brands, said on Friday first-quarter global revenue per available room (RevPAR) - a key industry measure - grew 6.0 percent, helped by 6.6 percent growth in its core North American market.
Having completed the sale of its InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco hotel and an 80 percent interest in InterContinental New York Barclay in the first quarter for a total of $394m, in return for long term management contracts, the firm said it would pay a special dividend of $750 million.
That takes total funds returned to shareholders to $10.3 billion since 2003. The group said it was reviewing opportunities for further asset disposals in light of strong demand for prime hotels globally. (Reporting by Neil Maidment; editing by Sarah Young)