Hotelier IHG room revenue rises on strong demand in China

A woman stands near an illuminated sign for InterContinental Hotels Group’s new hotel brand called Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts, during its official launch inside the Forbidden City in Beijing on March 2012. (Reuters)
Updated 04 May 2018
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Hotelier IHG room revenue rises on strong demand in China

BENGALURU: InterContinental Hotels Group Plc on Friday posted a better-than-expected rise in first-quarter global room revenue on strong demand in China, and said it was confident in the outlook for the year ahead.
Revenue per available room (RevPAR), a key industry measure, rose 3.5 percent in the three months to March 31, above Morgan Stanley’s estimate of 2.5 percent. This compares with a 2.7 percent growth reported a year earlier.
Strong corporate demand and higher occupancies owing to the Chinese New Year lifted RevPAR growth in its Greater China region to 11 percent in the quarter, with 10 percent growth in mainland China.
In the United States, the largest market for the company in terms of room numbers, RevPAR was up 2.2 percent, which compared with a rise of 1.9 percent a year ago.
The group is expanding its luxury offering and focusing on business customers to help it weather rising competition from online rental marketplaces.
IHG signed an agreement on Thursday to rebrand and operate a portfolio of 13 upmarket hotels in Britain.
The hotelier, which runs over 5,000 hotels under brands such as Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and InterContinental, said the weakening of the US dollar against many major currencies increased group RevPAR to 6.5 percent in the quarter.
Continental Europe RevPAR was up 6 percent in the first quarter, helped by “continued recovery in terror impacted markets,” the company said.


Head of Saudi Arabia’s SRC: ‘Ask banks for a mortgage, and we will refinance it’

Updated 25 April 2019
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Head of Saudi Arabia’s SRC: ‘Ask banks for a mortgage, and we will refinance it’

  • SRC CEO Fabrice Susini: One of our key objectives is to ensure that the banks are extending loans to more and more people
  • Extending home-ownership is one of the cornerstones of the Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil production

RIYADH: The head of the state-owned Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC) has made an unprecedented offer to the Kingdom’s home-seekers to underwrite future mortgages.
Speaking at the Financial Sector Conference in Riyadh, Fabrice Susini, SRC CEO, told the audience: “Ask them (the banks) for a mortgage, and we will refinance it.”
Although Susini later clarified his remarks to show that he still expected normal standards of mortgage applications to be met, the on-stage show of bravado illustrates SRC’s commitment to facilitate home-ownership in the Kingdom.
“Obviously if you have no revenue, no income, poor credit history, that will not apply. Now if you have a job, it is different. We have people in senior positions at big foreign banks that could not get a mortgage,” he explained.
He said that Saudi banks have traditionally assessed mortgages on the basis of “flow stability” of earnings. Government employees, or those of big corporations like Saudi Aramco and SABIC, found it easy to get mortgages “because you were there for life.”
“One of our key objectives is to ensure that the banks are extending loans to more and more people. The government is pushing for entrepreneurship, private development, private jobs. If you work in the private sector and cannot get a mortgage the next thing you will do is go to the government for a job,” Susini said.
Extending home-ownership is one of the cornerstones of the Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil production. Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest rates of mortgage penetration of any G20 country — in single digit percentages, compared with others at up to 50 percent.