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French hotels group Accor says first-half net profit more than doubled

French hotels group Accor says first-half net profit more than doubled

Accor SA's first-half profit more than doubled on the sale of properties and higher sales, Europe's largest hotels group said Wednesday.
The company, which owns chains including budget Motel 6 and the upmarket Sofitel brand, also announced a euro500 million (US$683 million) share buyback program, following similar moves the previous two years.
Accor said first-half profit jumped to euro596 million (US$814 million) compared to euro241 million a year ago.
The results include a euro204 million (US$279 million) gain from the sale of Go Voyages and euro311 million (US$425 million) from real estate disposals in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands _ part of CEO Gilles Pelisson's plan to focus on hotels and its service-voucher division.
Accor also announced the launch of a new hotel brand and the revamping of two others.
Sofitel is being taken up scale to the international luxury segment, where rooms can cost more than euro1,000 (US$1,366) per night, Pelisson said. Starting in Peking and Cairo, Accor plans to bring the brand to around 40 hotels in places including Dubai, Mumbai and Edinburgh.
In contrast to Asian and American brands such as the Mandarin Oriental or the Hyatt, Pelisson said he wants Sofitel to offer "the French touch."
"It's not the French touch of arrogance," he said during a news conference. "It's elegance, refinement, pleasure" and "feeling good."
Accor also plans to add the name Pullman to its upscale brands _ positioning it below Sofitel. Pelisson said the potential is superior to Sofitel with a planned 300 hotels operating by 2015.
A brand new mid-market to economy chain All Seasons will be launched in September, with the potential of 10,000 rooms by 2010. By June 2008, 14 hotels will be re-branded under this sign.
First-half operating profit before tax and nonrecurring items climbed 34 percent to euro379 million (US$518 million) from euro282 million a year ago, beating analyst expectations.
Revenue rose 8.8 percent to euro4.02 billion (US$5.49 billion) from euro3.69 billion a year earlier.
Revenue per available room, a common measure in the industry, rose 8.4 percent in July for up to mid-market hotels in Europe, and 7.7 percent in the economy segment. In the U.S., it declined 0.4 percent in the economy hotels business, on a like-for-like basis, the company said.
Looking to the future, Pelisson said he sees a good second half.
Accor could be interested in buying local hotel chains to reinforce existing brands, but a large acquisition is not on the agenda, he said, stressing that the group has funds "if an opportunity presents itself."
Pelisson also said Accor had not been approached by private equity funds, and denied speculation that the private equity firm KKR was interested in the hotels group.
Shares rose 5.43 percent to euro62.66 (US$85.62) in late afternoon trading in Paris.


Updated : 2021-06-19 00:22 GMT+08:00