InterContinental group sees strategy pay off

Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza operator InterContinental Hotels posted a 30% rise in profits today and pledged a windfall for shareholders as part of its hotel disposal scheme.

Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza operator InterContinental Hotels posted a 30% rise in profits today and pledged a windfall for shareholders as part of its hotel disposal scheme.

The England-based firm, which is the largest hotelier in the world, said operating profits climbed to £107m (€157m) in the first six months of the year.

It also said further funds will be returned to shareholders after the sale of 24 hotels in Europe during the first half.

The sales were part of the firm’s strategy to concentrate on management contracts rather than hotel ownership following its separation from the Six Continents group in April 2003.

InterContinental has now sold 175 hotels for £3bn (€4.4bn) since the split and returned £2.74bn (€4bn) to shareholders.

It said the decision on the timing of the return and the amount will be made by February next year.

Chief executive Andrew Cosslett added: “We have made good progress on our asset disposal programme and remain fully focused on increasing the number of hotels that carry our brands.

“We continue to attract strong interest from owners and partners, both new and existing, and for the first time we now have over 1,000 hotels in the development pipeline across the world.

“Current trading is healthy and our outlook for the rest of the year remains positive.”

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