Shares at InterContinental Hotels Fall

InterContinental Hotels Group stock shares dropped nearly 4% on Monday after the company opted not to speak out about its plans to return additional cash to its shareholders in its results from the full year.

The price of shares fell as the hotel group, which operates the brand Holiday Inn amongst others, reported a jump of 10% in its profits before taxes. Profits were over $960 million for 2013 through December 31.

The hotel group, listed in London, has been a big cash machine for its investors. It has returned nearly $10 billion to its shareholders over the past decade as a standalone business. However, investors that were looking for additional returns on Tuesday were left with disappointment.

Analysts in London brushed the absence of cash returns off, as they said they saw the probability of further significant returns.

IHG maintained its policy of selling properties of it owns outright in its planned shift to just a hotel management firm. InterContinental sold its Mark Hopkins property in San Francisco to Woodridge Capital Partners a private equity firm that is managed by the Oaktree Capital Management group. The hotel was sold for $120 million in cash.

Over the course of 2013, IHG opened another 237 hotels while adding over 444 more hotels onto its pipeline. That represented the company’s largest expansion in more than five years. In all, revenue per room available was up by 3.8% globally.

A shutdown by the government in the U.S. added to difficult food and beverage markets and austerity measures across China weighed on IHG. Management is confident that 2014 will prove a better year than the previous one.

In China, the company was able to come through the year even with the big measures for austerity the government placed, said the new CFO of the group Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson.

Over the short-term the CFO said the group is set to outperform the rest of the industry, as it did again in 2013, as the system and the brand is better than others.

Shares in the hotel management group were off by 3.8 in early morning London trading to £19.73.