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hotel group Accor on Thursday reported strong corporate bookings for September,
as it unveiled a doubling in profits for the first half of 2010. Also reporting
first-half figures on Thursday, Avis Europe said it moved back into the black
after successfully pushing up average rental rates.
executive Gilles Pelisson told reporters in a conference call that major
European corporate customers are showing a good increase in reservations for
next month. However, he cautioned that it is hard to make any forecasts beyond
September, owing to the fragility of the economic recovery.
So far this
year, the story has been one of accelerated growth for the hotel group, whose
brands include Sofitel, Novotel and Mercure. "The recovery that began in
the first quarter gained momentum in the second quarter," read a statement
accompanying the results, while July was even better for Accor's European
upscale and midscale properties. Most of the growth has been achieved through
improved occupancies, although average room rates in Germany and the United
Kingdom increased as well.
before interest and tax for the first half of the year climbed 109 percent to
€154 million on revenue growth of 5.1 percent. Accor said it expects to achieve
earnings of €350 million-€370 million for the full year.
In the car
rental sector, Avis Europe announced a pre-tax profit of €300,000, compared
with a loss of €13.9 million in the first half of 2009. Rental rates have been
flat in the United States in recent months, largely owing to increasingly
aggressive competition from National Car Rental, but there are signs for buyers
that the European market is becoming more expensive. Avis Europe said average
rate per rental day grew 4.5 percent in January-June. This helped the company
move back into profit despite rental volume falling 1.3 percent, which Avis
Europe attributed in part to April's volcanic ash cloud.