Betting profits save day for Hilton Group

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LONDON - While its hotel profits plummeted by 42.6 percent, its betting and gaming profits rose 33.1 percent, buffeting the six-months results ended June 30 for the Hilton Group. Group profit at the group, which operates the Hilton and Ladbroke brands, fell 15 percent to £110.5 million in the six month period. Hotel profits dropped t to £56.1 million with the group, citing difficult global trading. Worldwide Revpar fell by 4.9 percent with occupancy down 2.9 percentage points and rate down by 0.3 percent. But betting profits rose 33.1 percent to £101.8 million. Said David Michels, group chief executive, said the complementary nature of Hilton and Ladbroke “is part of the strength of the Hilton Group”. “Like all businesses they move through cycles. A few years ago Hilton hotels were peforming better than Ladbrokes, today the opposite is true. “Over the past six months the already frayed confidence of travellers was undermined further by the Iraq war and SARS. In these extreme circumstances the hotel sector takes the brunt of the pain. The news on Ladbrokes is much more positive with strong results reflecting the growing demand for our products.” Michels said he believed that hotels would steadily recover but he remained “uncertain and cautious about the timing and pace of that process”.

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