Shares up 4% to 685.75p today after Q1 results 

  • World's largest hotel operator by number of rooms. Chains include Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels.
  • Q1 revenue was down 24% to $342m. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) was down 13.6% on a constant currency basis. Trading in China was particularly weak, with RevPAR down 20 percent, while the Middle East was the company's most resilient market, with revenue per room falling 11.5%.
  • Q1 net profit fell 56% to $27m, hit by weaker consumer spending during the recession and strong competition, which depressed room charges.The profit figure included exceptional costs of $21m for a final payment to the U.K. pension fund. 
  • Keith Bowman, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers commented: "Costs are still being removed, whilst a steady flow of new rooms continue to come on stream... On the downside, the group's exposure to the US economy remains considerable, whilst trading across the industry remains on a downward trajectory. On balance, and allowing for a near halving in the share price since the credit crisis begun back in mid 2007, current consensus opinion denotes a neutral investment stance." 
  • Chief Executive Andrew Cosslett said, "As expected, the start to the year has been very challenging for the industry... "Occupancy showed signs of stabilization in the quarter, but room rates, which held up well during 2008, declined under the pressure of a very competitive market."

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