Millennium and Copthorne Hotels (M&C) today revealed that it experienced a dramatic decline in group revenue per available room (revpar) in the first five weeks of 2009.
The biggest decline suffered in revpar was seen at the group's three New York hotels, which fell by 41%, while Asian hotels saw a fall of 20%. London, however, suffered a lower 4% decline as the weak pound served to draw more visitors to the UK capital.
For the 12 months ended 31 December 2008, overall revpar increased 7.6%. Group revenue rose 5% to £702.9m, although it fell 1.2% in constant currency terms, and pre-tax profit dropped 34.5% to £102.8m.
M&C, which operates 103 upmarket hotels around the world, has halted virtually all new capital expenditure apart from essential health and safety spending to conserve cash in the wake of the global downturn.
Against this background, the group is anticipating that the next few quarters will "present challenging trading conditions".
However, it expects the decline to be partially mitigated by the fact that global rooms supply from new build hotels is limited due to the lack of debt financing.
Singaporian billionaire Kwek Leng BengKwek, M&C chairman and 53% shareholder, said: "I believe that with a continued policy of tough, prudent and analytical management we can steer our ship through the roughest of waters."
During 2008, M&C opened seven new hotels; one in Beijing, two further hotels in China operating under franchise agreements and four in the Middle East operating under management contracts.
Since the start of this year, M&C has opened a new managed hotel in Sheffield and signed a management contract for two hotels in Liverpool.
By Gemma Sharkey
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