IHG adds $750 million to buyback and raises dividend as travel recovers in 2022


© Reuters

Jeffrey Smith

Investing.com — InterContinental Hotels Group (LON:) said it would buy back another $750 million in shares after a three-year best-selling post-pandemic recovery in travel.

Owners of the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotel chains have made big gains as consumers put travel at the top of their list of priorities as the pandemic eased last year. The company cut the average room rate by 18%. As such, the group’s earnings fell by just 8% from 2019, his final year before the pandemic hit.

Profitability also improved, with adjusted shares up 92% to $2.82 and operating earnings up 55% to $828 million, despite a $17 million currency headwind. I was.

CEO Keith Barr said, “We are particularly pleased that both[average revenue per room]and profitability surpassed 2019 levels in the second half of the year.” However, we expect leisure demand to continue to be strong in many markets, and we expect further business and group travel to resume, as well as the resumption of economic activity in China,” he added.

China is the only one of the group’s major markets where hotel demand did not recover significantly last year, with the government severely restricting travel in response to a series of regional COVID-19 outbreaks.

In addition to the additional buybacks that reduce the group’s share count by about 1.2% at current prices, the group also increased its final price. dividend 10% increase from 2021 to 94.5c. This resulted in a total annual dividend of $1.38 and a yield of 2.5%.

But IHG’s share price still fell in early London trading as the company was disappointed by lower-than-expected sales. By 04:10 ET (09:10 GMT), the InterContinental Hotel’s share price fell 2.1%, briefly touching his five-week low at opening.

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