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Corporate Aug 9, 2012

Indian Hotels Q1 loss widens 50% on forex losses

The Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), which runs the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel in the city as well as other eponymous hotels, reported a 49.79 percent increase in consolidated net loss at Rs 33.36 crore for the June quarter due to forex losses, lower treasury income, and an investment in a new property.

However, the company's turnover improved by 20 percent to Rs 852.57 crore for the quarter, from Rs 711.64 crore in the same period year ago. "The first two quarters are usually the leanest period for the industry. This quarter has seen our loss increasing to Rs 33.36 crore mainly due to the initial gestation cost of our recently opened Yashwantpur hotel in Bangalore.

The company is on a major expansion drive, and planning to open 16 hotels with 1997 rooms this fiscal. Reuters

"The forex loss and lower treasury income have also put pressure on margins," IHCL Managing Director Raymond Bickson said. The sector usually earns about 60-65 percent of profit in the last two quarters, he added.

The company is on a major expansion drive, and planning to open 16 hotels with 1997 rooms this fiscal, including an international property in Morocco in North Africa, he said. "We are in line with our expansion plans and will add 16 new properties in FY13, which means one to two hotels every two to three weeks," Bickson said.

The company currently has 114 hotels with 13,800 rooms. When asked about IPO plans for its budget hotel brand Ginger Hotels, Bickson said, "We will look at taking the brand to the capital markets in another three to four years when we have about 60-100 hotels under the brand." At present, there are about 30 hotels under Ginger Hotels brand.

Group Chairman Ratan Tata had told the company AGM last week that holding company was planning to take Ginger Hotels public in some time. When asked about the status on its Sea Rock property at Bandra in the suburbs, Bickson said all the plans are on track, however, "we are waiting for all the approvals before going ahead with the constructions".

Talking about the current global economic scenario, Bickson said, "For our international hotels, we expect improvement, and here we have already seen the momentum returning."

PTI

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