June 30, 2020 / 7:17 AM / 13 days ago

UPDATE 1-IHG ramps up hotel reopenings, posts 76% drop in May room revenue

(Adds details from the statement, shares)

June 30 (Reuters) - InterContinental Hotels Group Plc on Tuesday posted a 76% slump in average room revenue in May due to coronavirus lockdowns, a slight improvement from April, as the Holiday Inn-owner accelerates the reopening of its properties.

The UK-based company said comparable Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), a key gauge of performance for the hotel industry, is expected to fall 75% for the second quarter overall. It had reported an 80% slump in RevPAR in April.

However, IHG, which operates Crowne Plaza, Regent and Hualuxe chain of hotels, said the pace of reopening has continued to accelerate through the second quarter, with only 10% of the global estate currently still closed.

“The small but steady improvements in RevPAR through the second quarter are mostly attributed to the Americas franchised estate and the Greater China region,” IHG said.

Occupancy levels have improved to over 40% in the United States, it added.

Shares in IHG, which have skidded 31% so far this year, were down 1% by 0711 GMT.

IHG has said that the coronavirus crisis is the biggest challenge the hotel industry has ever faced, with travel drawing to a near halt amid strict lockdowns to contain the spread of the disease.

IHG said it had $2 billion in available liquidity as at June 26. Its rival and Premier Inn owner Whitbread in May sought 1.01 billion pounds ($1.24 billion) in fresh cash from shareholders to get through the crisis.

$1 = 0.8145 pounds Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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