Asia boosts IHG but riots likely to hit London trade

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The Independent Online

Strong performances in China and the US helped InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the operator of Holiday Inn, post a rise in first half profits.

But Richard Solomons, the chief executive of IHG, warned this week's rioting and looting in London will deter some overseas visitors to the capital in the short-term and he described the disturbances as "very concerning".

His comments came after IHG delivered a 23 per cent jump in operating profits to $269m over the six months to 30 June, on sales up by 10 per cent to $850m. The rise in profits was driven by a 6.7 per cent increase in revenue per available room (revpar), which is a key measure of performance for the hotel industry.

The completed $1bn relaunch of its Holiday Inn brand was the key to an 8.2 per cent rise in revpar in the US, as leisure and business customers traded down to the middle market chain.

The group's revpar surged by 12.7 per cent in Greater China, vindicating its expansion in the region in recent years.

IHG, whose other brands include Intercontinental and Crowne Plaza, is committing $70m of capital expenditure to its brands this year, including the roll out of its Holiday Inn Express in India. Mr Solomons, the group's former finance director, replaced Andy Cosslett as chief executiveearlier this year.