InterContinental Hotels sees better demand led by Americas, China

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InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG) said demand has improved in the first quarter, led by the Americas and Greater China.


The FTSE 100 group said it outperformed its industry in key markets and there was a “notable” pick-up in demand in March, which continued into April.


READ: InterContinental Hotels Group sees recovery later in 2021


It added that while the outlook remains volatile, there is “clear evidence” from forward bookings data of further improvement.


Group revenue per available room (RevPAR) was down 51% compared with 2019 and down 34% on last year. Occupancy tumbled around 20% compared with two years ago.


As of 31 March, only 4% of the total estate, amounting to 223 hotels, was closed.


The Holiday Inn owner opened 7,300 rooms, closed 9,500 rooms and added another 14,500 rooms to the pipeline, which now stands at 274,000.


It also repaid a COVID-19 loan of GBP600mln to the UK government, ending the period with a cash position of US$2.1bn.


“Getting the share price right from here in our view depends on the relative impact of forecasts declining further as they catch up with the prolonged lockdowns in Europe in particular, and the signs of global economic recovery speeding up as vaccines take effect,” analysts at Peel Hunt commented.


“On balance we continue to believe that IHG’s share price, now 12% below its 2019 high, has further to fall to reflect the prolonged nature of the recovery in the hotel cycle, and we reiterate our ‘Reduce’ recommendation and 4,600p target price.”


Shares were flat at 5,050p on Friday morning.


–Adds analyst comment, shares–

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