Corus Hotels

Telephone:

01908 553 100

Activities:

Corus hotels is the owner and operator of mid-market hotels in urban and rural sites in mainland Britain (and a handful overseas) serving the corporate and conference markets. Corus is owned by Malayan United Industries (MUI), which also holds a 62% stake in The Restaurant Partnership, an operator of eight restaurants in the UK.

Chief Executive:

Loy Yet-King

Key People:

Director of operations: Peter Kirschner

Non-executive chairman: Khoo Kay Peng

Commentary:

The key priority for Corus, which saw profits plummet by 50% in 1999, is to get back into profit and to raise the profile of the Corus brand, which it admitted in 2003 was still low. So we can expect more of the repositioning strategy it has employed since 1999 – the sale of non-core, smaller hotels that won’t convert easily to the Corus corporate model, and the extension of the Corus brand name across the remaining estate of individually named hotels.

When the flog-off is complete – and only a handful of properties remain to be sold – Corus will have slimmed down from its 1999 peak of 126 hotels to become a 50-strong group.

By the end of 2004, 15 properties had been converted to the Corus brand and the company expects to complete this exercise within the next two years.

If this period of refinement and rebranding is successful, then expansion will be back on the agenda. Corus will look to plug gaps in its UK coverage and, in the longer term, to move into new international markets such as North America and Europe.

Meanwhile, it continues to invest in its current estate and staff. It recently completed an £11m renovation of its flagship 390-bedroom Corus Hyde Park hotel in London and, in 2003, it linked up with the Hotel and Catering Training Company to start developing its own next generation of chefs. Its Chef School trained 20 new chefs in year one, and has taken on another 40 for year two.

Strategy:

“The group continued to focus on increasing awareness of its Corus brand and positioning itself as a leading mid-market hotel group in the UK. The growth of the Corus brand is seen as vital to the future success of the group. Since its launch in 1998, it has made only a minor impact on the hotel sector, and in 2003 the group stepped up its efforts to develop a strong brand. We have strategies in place to grow average room rate and yield as the national and global economies continue to improve.”

Source: annual report and accounts, 2003

Operating Data:

Number of UK hotels: 55

Number of international hotels: four (two in Australia, two in Malaysia)

Number of employees: about 4,000, including 3,500 in the UK

Number of restaurants: eight – The Gay Hussar, Elena’s, L’Etoile, Thierry’s, Le Cabanon, three Simply Nico’s (all in London or Heathrow); and Nico Central in Manchester.

Financial Snapshot:

Full year
Turnover: £115.1m (2002: £130.2m)
Pre-tax profit: -£3.4m (2002: £3.9m)

Financial year end: 31 December 2003

Address:

Blakelands House
Yeomans Drive
Milton Keynes,

UK