Allied target InterContinental Hotels remains on growth path

InterContinental Hotels Group, the hotel operator linked with Allied London's The Manchester tower planned for the edge of Spinningfields, said growth plans remained unchecked despite falling revenues.

The London-listed group is the world's largest hotel chain with 1,800 outlets and is currently adding two hotels to its development pipeline each day,

In the group's interim results, Andrew Cosslett, chief executive, said "economic uncertainty" is affecting business.

IHG already operates its Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands in Manchester and is understood to be considering introducing its flagship self-branded InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand into the city as it increases the number of rooms in the group by 25%, or 150,000, during the next three to four years.

Knight Frank in London was retained in October to carry out the search for a five-star hotel operator for the £150m, 24-storey The Manchester. Content of the 300,000 sq ft tower would be split with the lower 12 floors used for a 200-room hotel and the upper 12 floors residential. Allied is seeking a joint venture development partner for the project as it does not want to take ownership of the hotel.

The only existing InterContinetal in the UK is the London Park Lane. The InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand has 150 hotels around the world and more than 60 in the development pipeline.

Cosslett said sales growth for the group was 7.9% overall for the period and added that the extra hotel rooms should offset any further slowdown.

He added: "The long-term trends for the travel industry remain positive and our broad portfolio of brands and fee-based franchise business model positions us well to take full advantage of this."

The group saw revenue per available room (revpar) rise by 4% for the six months to June 30, but in July it was down to 3.4%. Pre-tax profits came in at $232m, down 9.7% on last year, produced from group revenues, up 10.9%, to $974m.

Allied declined to comment.

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