February 27, 2018 / 6:14 PM / 20 days ago

Hotelier Melia beats profit forecasts despite hurricane-damaged Cuba portfolio

Feb 27 (Reuters) - Spain’s largest hotel company Melia reported a near 9 percent rise in full-year core profit on Tuesday as a strong tourist season at home compensated for weakness in Cuba in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Melia’s core profit for 2017 came in at 310.3 million euros($380 million), beating a Reuters poll forecast of 305 million euros. Fourth-quarter EBITDA rose by 17.6 percent.

Cuba, however, is its biggest market behind Spain and after Irma struck the island the group was forced to temporarily close over a third of 28 hotels it then operated in Cuba due to damages.

The company said its RevPAR on its Cuba portfolio fell 29.7 percent last year, and its total fee revenue dropped 76.1 percent due to Irma’s impact on the island.

Melia plans to add 30 new hotels this year, and has already opened eight in Cuba, its chief executive Gabriel Escarrer said last month. ($1 = 0.8167 euros) (Reporting by Anita Kobylinska; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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