British hotel group InterContinental meets profit target, declares higher dividend

InterContinental's US Barclay Hotel - The Group is Confident on Growth

InterContinental’s US Barclay Hotel – The Group is Confident on Growth

The world’s biggest hotel group – InterContinental Hotels, have met analysts profit forecasts and hiked the final dividend payable for the first time in three years.

The British group – owner of brand names such as Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and the Intercontinental, announced a 22 percent jump in its profits, in line with analysts’ expectations. The company attributed the growth to increased demand of business travellers, revamping of its Holiday Inn chain and growth in Asia.

Announcing its target to set up more hotels, Intercontinental chief executive Andrew Cosslett said that the group plans to grow its estate by 3-5 percent 2012 onwards. “Growth in the final dividend reflects our confidence in our prospects”, he added.

The group plans to revamp its Crowne Plaza brand and sell the flagship InterContinental New York Barclay hotel, said the operator of over 4,500 hotels in more than 100 countries company in a statement.

The planned upgrade of Crowne Plaza will cost less than the $1 billion spent on similar revamping of the Holiday Inn chain.

InterContinental’s confidence is in sync with similar statements from rival groups such as Marriott and Starwood.

Operating Profit for the year was reported at $444 million, two thirds of which came from the US market.

The hotelier’s Revenue Per Available Room (REVPAR) was up 6.2 percent in 2010 while it rose by 8 percent in December over the same period in 2009.

Full year dividend works out at 48 Cents, a rise of 16 percent over 2009.

At current market prices, the group is valued at about £4 billion.

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