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160,000 jobs for InterContinental

InterContinental hotels is to create 160,000 jobs by 2014, half of them in China, the world's biggest hotel company said yesterday.

Plans to open 1,300 new hotels worldwide over the next three years were announced alongside half-year financial results showing a return to profit at the company, which includes the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza chains.

Net profit for the six months to the end of June came in at $141m (£89.3m), compared with last year's $29m loss, thanks to strong growth in business customers, particularly in Asia. Revenue rose by 6 per cent to $772m. Revenue per available room – the hotel industry's standard metric – rose by 3.9 per cent overall, and by 7.4 per cent in the second quarter.

The company said it would increase its dividend by 5 per cent. Andrew Cosslett, the chief executive, added: "Asia is leading the recovery."