Europe’s largest hotel group, Accor, showed confidence in its ability to tap recovering demand for hotel rooms this year and generate cash as it handed investors a bigger-than-expected dividend on the back of forecast-beating 2011 profits.
Accor, the world’s fourth-largest hotel group behind InterContinental, Marriott and Starwood Hotels, said on Wednesday it expected robust emerging markets to underpin growth and that, despite an uncertain economic climate, business was holding up.
“The trends observed in the fourth-quarter, 2011, continued into January 2012, with RevPAR (Revenue per Available Room) figures stable in Europe and strong revenue growth in emerging markets,” Chairman and CEO Denis Hennequin told a conference call with journalists.
“The economy segment in Europe and the United States is also continuing to benefit from rising room rates,” he added.
Chief Financial Officer Sophie Stabile said bookings for January and February were “good”.
Analysts worry that Accor, which makes 70 per cent of its sales in Europe, is more exposed than its peers to a region where the business climate might be tougher this year.