InterContinental Hotels Group PLC Set To Pay Special Dividend

Shares of InterContinental Hotels (LSE: IHG) rose over 2.5% in early trade this morning, following the release of positive half-year results to 30 June 2013.

Revenue lifted 7% on both an actual and constant exchange rate to $936m, while operating profit was similarly up 20% to $338m, ahead of analysts’ expectations. Net debt did increase, however, to $861m from $564m in H1 last year. But global revenue per available room (RevPAR) jumped 3.7%, while fee revenue was up 4% to $562m, led by the Americas with strong growth of 7%.

This led to the highlight of this morning’s statement: the announcement that InterContinental Hotels is set to return $350m (£227m) to shareholders through a special dividend of 133¢ per share payable on 4 October 2013 on shares in issue on 23 August 2013.

Shareholders were also boosted by a 10% increase in the interim dividend, which now stands at 23¢ per share, after a 37% leap in basic earnings per share to 127.8¢ compared against 93.4¢ in 2012’s comparative period.

Chief executive Richard Solomons commented:

“We have delivered a good performance in the first half, with our preferred brands driving RevPAR growth of 3.7%, including 4.0% in the second quarter.  Our global scale has allowed us to reinvest in the business whilst growing margins, resulting in solid underlying profit gains led by our Americas region, and strong cash flows.

“Our high quality pipeline, broad geographic spread and fee based model give us confidence in the outlook, despite the ongoing challenging economic conditions in some of our markets.”

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> Sam does not own shares in InterContinental Hotels.