Feb 21 (Reuters) - InterContinental Hotels Group Plc , one of the world’s largest hoteliers, reported a slightly better-than-expected yearly profit rise and said it would return $400 million to investors via a special dividend and share consolidation.
IHG, which runs hotels under brands such as Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and InterContinental, posted a 4 percent rise in operating profit to $707 million, ahead of analysts’ estimate of about $695 million according to a company-compiled consensus.
For 2015, the company had reported comparable profit of $680 million.
IHG said revenue per available room (RevPAR), a key industry measure, grew 1.7 percent year-on-year in the three months through December at its hotels worldwide, faster than the 1.3 percent reported in the third quarter.
RevPAR was helped by higher room rates and record occupancy levels, while profit was boosted by higher returns from its fee business, where the company franchises and manages hotels, rather than owning them.
The special dividend will be paid in the second quarter of 2017, IHG said, even as it announced an 11 percent increase in the total dividend to 94 cents a share. (Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)