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Hotel giant IHG's profit falls 18%

Atlanta Journal-Constitution - February 16, 2010 - by Lisa R. Schoolcraft Staff Writer


InterContinental Hotels Group PLC reported its profits fell 18 percent last year.

The hotel chain (NYSE: IHG), which has its North American headquarters in Atlanta, had a profit of $214 million in 2009, compared to $262 million in 2008. Revenue also declined in 2009 to $1.5 billion, down from $1.9 billion in 2008.

“2009 was a very challenging year for the industry,” Andrew Cosslett, CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group, reported in the company's annual report filed Feb. 16 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “The fourth quarter did show some improvement in trends and occupancy has now stabilized. Rate however remains under pressure and we expect trading to stay tough until business travelers return in greater numbers.”

As a result of the declining real estate market, the company said, the InterContinental Atlanta has been taken off the market.

InterContinental Atlanta opened in 2005. The chain was attempting to sell the property because its business strategy has been to sell assets and be a hotel operator, rather than owner, said Paul Breslin, managing partner at Panther Hospitality, a hotel consulting firm in Atlanta.

“In this economy, they are not getting their price, so they are not going to sell it. There is nothing strategic about selling that asset at the present time.”

IHG opened a record 439 hotels in 2009 and signed 345 hotels into its pipeline. It removed 187 hotels during the year. The company said it expects to complete its $1 billion relaunch of Holiday Inn hotels on schedule.