Intercontinental Hotels' profits rise on China uptick

Intercontinental Hotels (IHG) sales rose smartly in China driving up profits at the biggest hotelier in the world.

Pre-tax profit for the three months ended June 2012 stood at $178 million, up 60 per cent on the $111 million, the company made a year ago. Revenue rose 3 per cent to $469 million.

The owner of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands also announced a $1 billion return of capital to shareholders, adding dividends would increase 31 per cent, as a result.

According to chief executive Richard Solomons, the company had delivered good results in the first half with revenue per room growth from all regions through gains in both occupancy and rate.

The company's brands continue to perform well, achieving solid underlying margin growth and subsequently, increased profit and strong cash flows.

Overall revenue was up by 17 per cent in China and up 6 per cent in Europe, but was down slightly in the US.