LONDON Feb 18 InterContinental Hotels Group
, the world's largest hotelier, said it was increasingly
confident about 2014 after strong demand in the U.S. and
improving conditions in Europe helped it to post a 10 percent
rise in 2013 profit.
IHG, home to brands such as Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and
InterContinental, said on Tuesday annual pretax profit was $600
million dollars, ahead of forecasts of $585 million, with
revenue up 3.7 percent to $1.9 billion.
Global revenue per available room (RevPAR), a key industry
measure, rose 3.8 percent for the year, led by solid trading in
the United States, where hoteliers are benefiting from improving
demand and a lower than average number of hotel rooms being
added to the system.
"Looking into 2014, although economic conditions in some
markets remain uncertain, forward bookings data is encouraging
and we are confident that we will deliver another year of
growth," Chief Executive Richard Solomons said in a statement.
In its fourth quarter, trading remained strong in its Asia
and Middle East region and in the U.S., which accounts for
roughly two thirds of IHG's operating profit, while RevPAR
increased sharply in Europe, rising from 0.7 percent in the
first nine months to 4.9 percent in the final quarter.
There was also an improvement in Greater China, where IHG
shrugged off slower macroeconomic conditions.
Over the year the firm raised total gross proceeds of $830
million through the disposal of three hotels, including the $120
million sale of its Mark Hopkins hotel in San Francisco, which
was also announced on Tuesday.
Shares in the firm, which raised its total dividend per
share by 9 percent to 70 cents, closed at 2047 pence on Monday,
up 8 percent on a year ago, valuing the business at around 5.3