InterContinental Shares Fall on Mideast Sales Hit, Early Easter

InterContinental Hotels Group Plc, owner of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands, fell to the lowest in 10 weeks after oil markets hit Middle East travel and an early Easter holiday slowed demand in Europe and Americas.

Revenue per available room, a measure of occupancy and rates known as revpar, increased 1.5 percent, the Denham, England-based company said in a statement on Friday. In the Middle East, it fell 10.4 percent as oil prices hurt demand. The shares fell as much as 2.5 percent, the lowest since Feb. 26, and were trading at 2,675 pence at 8:45 a.m. in London trading.

“We came into the year expecting full-year revpar growth approaching 4 percent and although the update points to a recovery into Q2, especially given the timing of Easter” it’s now likely to be closer to 3 percent, Greg Johnson, an analyst at Shore Capital, said in a note.

InterContinental has benefited from increased travel as Chinese tourists spend more time and money overseas and the global economy grows. International tourist arrivals are set to rise 4 percent in 2016, after reaching a record 1.2 billion last year, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

"Despite economic and political uncertainty in some markets, current trading trends and the momentum behind our brands give us confidence for the rest of the year," Chief Executive Officer Richard Solomons said in the statement.

More than half of InterContinental’s rooms are in the U.S., where revpar rose 1.5 percent, driven by record levels of industry demand. Demand was weaker in oil producing areas. The company bought U.S. boutique chain Kimpton Hotels last year, which help expand its reach into the country’s upscale segment.

European sales climbed 1.4 percent, after terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels damped travel in the region. Revpar in France was down 2.3 percent. The profitability measure rose by mid-single digits in Germany and former Soviet Union countries.

InterContinental had about 744,000 rooms in 5,000 hotels at the end of 2015. It’s the second-biggest European hotel operator by market value, after Paris-based Accor SA.

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