InterContinental Hotels Group PLC ADR IHG
Q1 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 05/09/2012

Operator: Good morning, good afternoon. Thank you all for standing by. During today's conference, all participant lines will be in a listen-only mode. This conference will be recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time.

I will now hand the call over to, Catherine Dolton. Please go ahead. Thank you.

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 financial results and Q&A, I need to remind you that in the following discussion, the 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 will now turn the call over to, Richard Solomons.

Richard Solomons - Chief Executive: Thanks, Catherine. Good morning, everybody. Thanks for joining us on our first quarter conference call. This is Richard Solomons Chief Executive of IHG and as Catherine said Tom Singer, our CFO, is with me today and he'll join me in answering your questions later. Before that I'll make a few remarks on our results and achievements in the first quarter, as well as the trading environment as we see it today.

So, we delivered strong performance through the first quarter with global RevPAR growth of 7% and Group revenues up 6%. Good use of our scale and the efficiency of our business model converted this into underlying operating profit growth of 16%. These figures are at constant currency and exclude the impact of $10 million of liquidated damages received in quarter one 2011.

Before I get into the detail of the numbers, I wanted to give you a little more color on two recent changes to IHG's executive committee and tell you about our two new brand launches. A few weeks ago, we announced that (I have) appointed Eric Pearson as Chief Information Officer and Larry Light as Chief Brands Officer. Eric has been with IHG for 15 years and has a unique mix of experience across the variety of areas including engineering, emerging technologies and sales and marketing. Technology is at the core of our business whether thinking about reservations, the websites or even the guest experience; it is the competitive advantage for IHG. So an executive with Eric's unique breadth of experience will help to keep us ahead.

Now, Larry is widely recognized as one of the world's leading marketers. Having served as Global Chief Marketing Officer at McDonald's from 2002 to 2005, as well as working with other high profile organizations including Mars, Nissan, 3M and IBM.

With this depth of experience he is ideally qualified to lead our strategic priority of building preferred brands. I am delighted to welcome both Eric and Larry to the Executive Committee, which I am confident of right team of people to drive high quality growth for IHG into future.

Larry's appointment actually coincided with the launch of our two exciting new brands during the quarter EVEN Hotels in the U.S. will meet the large and growing consumer demand for healthier travel at a mainstream price point and HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts is the first upscale international hotel brand designed specifically for the Chinese consumer. We expect the first EVEN Hotels will open in the first half of next year, and the first HUALUXE Hotel to open by early 2014.

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