* H1 EBIT 212 mln euros vs 215 mln forecast
* Sees 2012 EBIT at 510-530 mln euros vs 533 mln market
* Hotel demand in southern Europe deteriorating
* Shares down 2.4 pct
(Adds analyst quotes)
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, Aug 29 Accor, Europe's largest
hotel group, warned investors that profit could be below market
expectations after demand for rooms in recession-hit southern
Europe deteriorated further over the summer.
The French company, with more than 4,400 hotels ranging from
the luxury Sofitel to the budget Ibis chains, on Wednesday said
the trend for autumn bookings was "good" for the group overall,
but it was difficult to make predictions for later in the year
because of the uncertain economic climate.
Accor, the world's fourth-largest hotel group, has 63
percent of its rooms in Europe which is struggling with a debt
crisis. The rest of its business is in faster-growing emerging
markets of Asia-Pacific and Latin America, with a tiny exposure
to the United States.
"Summer bookings are in line with what we expected except in
southern Europe," chief financial officer Sophie Stabile said on
a conference call.
"In that region, we thought business would stabilise and we
are seeing a deterioration like we did in the first half."
In July alone, RevPAR (revenue per available room) fell 7
percent in mid and upscale hotels and 14 percent in budget
hotels in southern Europe where the debt crisis is hitting
Accor predicted 2012 earnings before interest and tax (EBIT)
would be in a range of 510-530 million euros against 515 million
($647 million) in 2011, restated for the sale of U.S. budget
hotel chain Motel 6.
This was below the average of market forecasts of 533
million euros, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
By 1002 GMT, Accor shares were down 2.4 percent,
underperforming the CAC-40 index of French blue chips.
Several analysts, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch
called the guidance "disappointing" while one Paris-based
trader said the cautious comments were "not good".
Earlier this month, Intercontinental said half-year
operating profit rose 6 percent and that it continued to see
growth for the future.
Accor, which trails InterContinental, Marriott
and Starwood chains in the global market, posted
a 10 percent rise in like-for-like first-half EBIT to 212
million euros, in line with expectations.
The company, which sold Motel 6 for $1.9 billion in May, is
accelerating its growth in emerging markets and stepping up its
shift to an "asset light" business model - operating more hotels
under contracts rather than owning them - to cut debt.
The group set a new target to operate 40 percent of its
rooms under franchise contracts, 40 percent under management
contracts and 20 percent in owned and leased hotels by the end
At end-June, Accor operated 25 percent of its rooms under
franchises and 31 percent under management contracts.
Accor said consolidated debt climbed 578 million euros,
reflecting the acquisition of Australian hotel group Mirvac and
the payment of a special dividend, with net debt reaching 804
million at June 30.
The company, which opened 20,700 rooms in the first half,
mainly under management and franchise contracts, said it hoped
to end 2012 with a total of 40,000 rooms.
Accor shares have gained 35 percent this year, outperforming
the STOXX Europe 600 travel and leisure index, which has
added 19 percent.
($1 = 0.7958 euro)
(Editing by Erica Billingham)