InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is to return a further £850m to shareholders after announcing today that 2006 was a "successful year on all fronts".
The group's results for the year showed a pre-tax profit of £247m, down from £284m in 2005, on turnover from continuing operations of £805m, up from £713m.
Operating profit was £258m, down from £317m a year ago.
IHG said it would pay out £700m in the second quarter of 2007 as a special dividend and a further £150m in a share buyback, which is yet to commence.
The latest return to shareholders takes total returns to £3.6b since March 2004.
Chief executive Andrew Cosslett said that in 2006 the group outperformed the market and saw a record level of signings for IHG brands.
"We now expect to exceed our growth target of adding 50,000-60,000 rooms on a net and organic basis by the end of 2008," he added.
Cosslett said IHG has made a good start to 2007 with the opening of InterContinental Los Angeles and the signing of the group's 125th hotel in China, the Crowne Plaza Sun Palace Beijing.
By Daniel Thomas