Expects improved occupancy in peak season
Hotel chain operator Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) is expecting improved occupancy levels and is set to raise room-rates in the next quarter, the peak season for the hospitality industry.
“We expect an occupancy rate of 70 per cent in the next two months,” Raymond Bickson, Managing Director, said. The company, that reported a net loss of Rs 6 crore in July-September 2012, recorded average occupancy rates of 60 per cent in the first half of the year.
The company also plans to increase room rates by eight per cent this season.
Bickson said his company added five hotels in 2012-13 with 509 rooms. The company is to open eight hotels with 905 rooms in the remaining months of the fiscal. These include Vivanta by Taj in Gurgaon, and its prototype Gateway Hotels in Kolkata, Hubli and Chennai, all of which will be on management contract, and four Ginger hotels in Jaipur, Bangalore, Noida and Amritsar.
The company, which owns and operates the chain of Taj hotels and resorts, is set to open 13 more hotels in 2013-14. IHCL has consolidated debt of Rs 3,800 crore. “We are currently taking a momentary pause in capital expenditure plans as the company has undertaken a huge capital expenditure programme in the last five years,” said Anil Goel, Executive Director – Finance, IHCL.
The company has made a $1.8-billion bid to acquire Orient-Express Hotels Ltd, which runs a chain of luxury hotels around the world. IHCL currently holds 6.9 per cent stake in it.
With regards to IHCL’s bid, Bickson declined to comment on the issue and said that both companies are listed and a formal response to the company’s offer is awaited from Orient-Express.