Holiday Inn owner IHG buoyed by returning travel after Covid impact

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Sales and profits have rebounded at Holiday Inn owner InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) amid an increase in travel following the easing of pandemic restrictions.

Nevertheless, IHG saw continued weak demand in China where virus curbs continue to have an impact on operations last year.

Keith Barr, chief executive officer of IHG, said that the group “saw demand return strongly in most of our markets”.

The London-listed group revealed on Tuesday that overall revenues grew by 34% to 3.89 billion US dollars (£3.24 billion) in 2022, compared with the previous year.

As a result, operating profits increased by 27% year-on-year to 628 million dollars (£523 million).

IHG, which runs 6,164 hotels, was lifted by returning demand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where sales jumped by 82.2%.

It also saw almost 30% growth in the Americas, helping to offset a 25% slump in Greater China, where restrictions remained in place.

The firm was also boosted by its continued expansion over the year, which included the opening of 269 more hotels.

Mr Barr said: “Looking to 2023, while there are economic uncertainties, we expect continued strong leisure demand in many markets, alongside further return of business and group travel and the ongoing reopening of China.

“Our strategy over the last five years has significantly strengthened our brand portfolio and seen substantial investment to innovate our technology and distribution platforms.

“We are a stronger and more resilient company than ever before, and we are proud of the advancements made in each of our strategic priorities.”

On Tuesday, IHG also announced a new 750 million dollar (£624.5 million) share buyback and increased its total annual dividend for shareholders by more than 60%.

Shares in the company moved 1.8% lower on Tuesday morning.

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