http://www.morningstar.com/earnings/41889936-intercontinental-hotels-group-plc-adr-ihg-q2-2012.aspx

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC ADR IHG
Q2 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 08/07/2012

Operator: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Intercontinental Hotels Group Half Year Results Call. My name is James and I will be your coordinator for today’s conference. For the duration of the call you lines will be on listen-only, however you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the call.

I will now hand over to Catherine Dolton, to begin today’s conference. Thank you.

Catherine Dolton - Head, 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, 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 and thank you for joining us. In a moment Tom will take you through the financial results, but first just let me cover the highlights of what's been another really good half year progress for IHG.

At the top line our global RevPAR grew 6.5% driven by growing preference for our brands and record levels of consumer demand around the globe. We continue to see significant opportunities to add to our already strong position in most parts of the world. We are doing this by growing our established brands and developing new ones. Our latest brands, EVEN Hotels and HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts were both launched in the first quarter.

At the same time, we of course recognized real pricing in challenging economic times and so if you ask our business, we've continued our relentless focus on costs, which you can see reflected in yet another half year profit margin progression.

I have talked many times about the ability of our business to generate significant free cash flows, which is demonstrated once again in our results today. This strong financial performance gives us the ability to invest in growth opportunities; at the same time it is enabling us to return significant cash to shareholders.

Our announcement today of $1 billion return of capital, combined with sizeable growth in the interim dividend demonstrates our commitment to this longstanding strategy. An important part of this strategy is the reduction in capital intensity of the business and Tom will update you in a few minutes on where we are today with asset disposals.

So I'll hand you over to Tom, then I will return later to provide more insight into the work we are doing to create preferred brands.

Tom, over to you.

Tom Singer - CFO: Thank you, Rich and then good morning, everyone. Group revenue increased 6%, operating profits were up 11% on a constant currency basis, excluding the impact of $10 million liquidated damages receipts in 2011. Our interest charge of 25 million was lower than in the comparable period reflecting the reduced average level of net debt and our tax charge increased based on an effective rate for the first half 1 percentage point higher at 29%.

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