Six Continents profits expected to dip

Six Continents - formerly known as Bass - is expected to show the impact of September 11 and the economic slowdown when it reports on Thursday.

Six Continents - formerly known as Bass - is expected to show the impact of September 11 and the economic slowdown when it reports on Thursday.

The City is expecting a dip in pretax pre-exceptional profits for the year, dipping to between £710m and £725m from £756m last year.

But analysts anticipate a rise in the interim dividend to around 34.3 pence a share, as against last time's 33.3 pence distribution.

The group warned in October that the impact of the US terrorist attacks would cost its hotels division some $25m in the year.

This is increasingly important to the group because it pulled out of brewing with the sale of Bass Brewers last year for £2.3bn and recently sold-off 866 underperforming outlets.

The group's hotel operations, which include the Inter-Continental, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands, had already been suffering before the terrorist attacks as the economic slowdown impacted on the division's first half results figures.

Analysts will wanting a further update next week on the likely impact for hotel revenues in 2001-02. Deutsche Bank reckons the group will "lay it on pretty thick" in terms of the current difficulties for hotel trading.

In contrast, the group's retail operations - which include the All Bar One, O'Neill's and Harvester brands - are thought to have performed well with like-for-like sales up by over 4%.

This raises the question of a demerger of the branded pub and restaurants division, as some industry analysts reckon this could create a new company worth some £3bn..

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