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InterContinental Hotels Group cheers London sales growth

Joanna Bourke

Holiday Inn-owner InterContinental Hotels Group on Tuesday shrugged off “gilets jaunes” protests weighing on Paris demand, as it cheered bumper sales growth in London.

The FTSE 100 hotelier gave the Europe update as it posted a 12% rise in full-year group sales to $1.9 billion (£1.5 billion). Revenue per room rose 2.5%.

In Paris there was softer demand in December. Finance chief Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson said: “We think some [customers] were put off by some of the social unrest.”

However he pointed out that despite the anti-government protests, revenue per growth of 3% was still achieved in France in the final quarter.

Edgecliffe-Johnson was more upbeat as he revealed London revenue per room jumped 10% in the fourth quarter, and was up 3% for the whole of 2018.

He added that tourists here continue to be “attracted by great hotels, shops, restaurants and sights”. Greater China also saw growth.

Group operating profits in the year rose 8% to $816 million and the company increased its total dividend by 10% to $1.14 per share.

The firm, which has been aggressively expanding, last week bought luxury operator Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas in a $300 million deal. There are 271,000 more rooms in the pipeline.

Boss Keith Barr said: “While there are macro-economic and geopolitical uncertainties in some markets, we are confident in the year ahead.”

The shares rose 66p to 4695p.