InterContinental boosted by US and China

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HOTELIER InterContinental Hotels reported strong growth in its two biggest markets - China and the United States - as it posted a 5 per cent rise in quarterly profit that was at the top end of expectations.

The British group, home to the Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and InterContinental brands, also said today talks on the long-awaited sale of its flagship InterContinental New York Barclay hotel were still progressing.

“The global economic backdrop, particularly in Europe, is still challenging, but the considerable strength of our business including our resilient model and strong balance sheet give us confidence that we will continue to drive high quality growth,” said chief executive Richard Solomons in a results statement.

InterContinental, which operates more than 660,000 rooms in over 4,500 hotels worldwide, posted a first-quarter operating profit of $118m (£73m), compared with a forecast for $116m in a Reuters poll. Revenue rose 3 per cent to $409m.

Growth in global revenue per available room, a key industry measure, grew 7 per cent with the United States and China ahead 7.6 per cent and 11.9 per cent, respectively. In April, global growth slowly to 6.1 per cent.

The stock has risen nearly 60 per cent from a low of 939p in August 2011.