Intercontinental Hotels Group launches $500m share buyback as revenue soars

Intercontinental Hotels shares dipped 1.1% to 4,960p in early morning trading on Tuesday, after the hospitality company announced a 52% total revenue climb to $1.7 billion in HY1 2022 against $1.1 billion the year before.

The group reported a 162% operating profit spike to $361 million from $136 million in the previous year.

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The firm mentioned significant improvement across regions in trading, with revenue in the Americas rising 44.9% to $471 million against $325 million and EMEAA growing 184.5% to $239 million from $84 million year-on-year.

However, revenue in Greater China fell 39% to $36 million against $59 million on the back of extended Covid-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions across the country.

Intercontinental Hotels highlighted a 30% net debt reduction to $1.7 billion compared to $2.4 billion year-on-year.

“The recovery in demand and pricing led to group profit more than doubling versus 2021, with profitability in the Americas now ahead of 2019,” said Intercontinental Hotels Group CEO Keith Barr.

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“The EMEAA region also saw excellent improvement in performance. Whilst Greater China had a tough period as Covid-related travel restrictions were tightened, we have since seen a strong recovery in the most recent months, although risk of further volatility in trading in the region still remains.”

The firm added it was confident in a positive FY 2022 outlook, despite macro-economic headwinds and market volatility.

“Whilst the economic outlook faces uncertainties as central banks and governments take action to manage inflation, we remain confident in our business model and the attractive industry fundamentals that will drive long-term sustainable growth,” said Barr.

Intercontinental Hotels confirmed a basic EPS surge of 348% to 117.4¢ compared to 26.2¢ the last year.

Share buyback and dividend

The hotels firm also reported a new $500 million share buyback programme to return value to shareholders.

Intercontinental Hotels recommended a HY1 dividend of 43.9¢ per share after suspending its payout last year.

“Having reinstated a final dividend in respect of 2021 six months ago, the strong performance seen in 2022 to date, together with the confidence we have in continued progress, has led us to reintroduce an interim dividend at a level 10% higher than when last paid and launch an initial $500m share buyback,” said Barr.

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