HK is best performer for Peninsula chain

HONG KONG: Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, the owner of Peninsula hotels around the world, saw yields increase in the first quarter of this year, with its Hong Kong business weathering the economic downturn best.

In unaudited results released on Wednesday May 12, the group said its average revenue per available room (revpar), or yield, rose 9 per cent year on year, with revpar growth at The Peninsula in Hong Kong outperforming other markets at 17 per cent, compared with 13 per cent for both Asia and the United States.

Revpar in Hong Kong in the first quarter reached HK$2,264, with occupancy at 71 per cent compared with 57 per cent a year earlier.

Hong Kong's strong performance was in part boosted by its proximity to the mainland, managing director and chief executive Clement Kwok King-man said.

Chief operating officer and director Peter Borer said The Peninsula Hong Kong would continue to grow at a rapid pace as wealthy mainlanders spent on rooms, in restaurants and in its shopping arcade.

"We will never put all our eggs in one basket though, ... our US and European markets continue to perform very well," Borer said.

Kwok said room rates in the US had not yet returned to pre-crisis levels.

The group, majority owned by the Kadoorie family, fully opened its hotel in Shanghai in March after a soft opening in October last year. Most of the shops in the hotel arcade opened by May 1, in time for the World Expo.

Kwok said the effect of the expo on the hotel's Shanghai business was only peripheral and short-term.

He added that while there was an over-supply of hotel rooms in Beijing as a result of the building frenzy that preceded the Olympics, the group nonetheless had a well-established name there that was "beginning to build the sort of history [the hotel in] Hong Kong has".

The group says its businesses in Thailand will continue to suffer from ongoing political disturbances, but prior to unrest breaking out in March its country club had seen a 6 per cent increase in golfers compared with the previous year.

Sir Michael Kadoorie, the third-generation owner of the company, reiterated his intention to hold a controlling stake and said that the "major challenge" to shareholders was only a "cyclical" one. - South China Morning Post

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