InterContinental Hotels Group PLC ADR IHG
Q4 2011 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 02/14/2012

Operator: Good morning, and welcome to Intercontinental Hotels Group, Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call.

I would like to introduce in today's conference, Catherine Dolton. Please go ahead. Your line is now open.

Catherine Dolton - IR: Good morning, everyone. This is Catherine Dolton, Head of Investor Relations. I am joined this morning by Richard Solomons, Chief Executive; and Tom Singer, Chief Financial Officer.

Before I hand over to them for the discussion of our results, I need to remind you that in the following discussion, Company may make certain forward-looking statements as defined under U.S. law. Please check this morning's press release and the Company's SEC filings for factors that could lead actual results to differ materially from any such forward-looking statements.

I'll now turn the call over to Richard Solomons.

Richard Solomons - Chief Executive: Thanks, Catherine. Good morning, everybody and thanks for joining us. In a moment Tom Singer, our new CFO who joined us in last September will take you through the financial results in detail, but first, let me cover the highlights of what has been another strong year for IHG.

On the top-line our global RevPAR grew 6.2% in the year, which was primarily driven by growing preference of our brands and we're pleased to report this results hitting good growth in both profit and earnings. In fact, 130.4 cents is the highest adjusted earnings per share IHG has ever reported. It's exciting for us, but notwithstanding IHG's already strong position, we see substantial growth and value creating opportunities in the most parts of the world for our existing brand and indeed new brands too.

At the same time, we're living in challenging economic times and so throughout our business there is a relentless focus on being effective and efficient, which you can see reflected in our ongoing margin progression. A feature of this business and well demonstrated in these results is our ability to generate powerful cash flows. This is the foundation of our financial strength giving us useful financial flexibility, allowing us to reinvest in growth opportunities at the same time as being able to generate significant and consistent shareholder returns.

So I'm now going to handover to Tom, who will talk in more detail about the financial progress IHG has achieved in 2011 and I'll return later to look a little into the future and discuss our strategy and business.

Tom Singer - CFO: Good morning, everybody. I'm going to start first by looking at the financial results for each part of our business in turn. Franchise profits grew 12% to $511 million, with margins up two percentage points to 84% driven by 6.5% RevPAR growth. Underlying management fees increased to 5%, reflecting the strong RevPAR performance across much of the estate, but in particular China.

Increasing efficiencies resulted in growth in operating profit of 23% to $191 million, with a corresponding margin improvement of eight percentage points. Excluding the impact of disposals, owned hotel profits grew 28% to $106 million and margins increased three percentage points, driven by 10.9% RevPAR growth and good cost efficiencies at the hotel level.

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