© Reuters. ACCORHOTELS: NO SPECIAL DIVIDEND BUT ACQUISITIONS
PARIS (Reuters) – AccorHotels (PA:ACCP) will continue the pace of its acquisitions with proceeds from the sale of its north pole real estate rather than to pay dividends to its shareholders exceptional, said Friday the CEO of the group at the group’s annual general meeting.
The group has taken a key step in its transformation plan at the end of February, with the transfer expected to be long-standing a majority of the capital of its subsidiary real estate AccorInvest to 4.4 billion euros.
He announced, at the same time, a share repurchase program over two years for a total amount of 1.35 billion euros, representing about 10% of its share capital.
“It is not appropriate to propose special dividend”, said Sébastien Bazin in response to a question from a shareholder on the use of these 4.4 billion euros, adding that the group preferred to prioritize the shareholders are loyal.
The acquisitions are the best way to use the cash, continued the CEO, who felt that the group could count nearly forty brands in the next five years, compared to 25 today, including Ibis, Mercure, Sofitel, Fairmont or Raffles.
DOUBLING EXPECTED in THE OPERATING RESULT within 5 YEARS
Sébastien Bazin has also reaffirmed aim for a doubling of the operating result of AccorHotels in the five years that come, and hoped that the stock market evolution of the title AccorHotels can evolve accordingly.
Has 13h23, the stock is trading at a 45,08 € 13.00 Friday, registering a rise of 0.18%, while the CAC 40 gaining 0.44 per cent at the same time.
Since the beginning of the year, the value increased by 4.8%.
To diversify and better able to withstand the competition of platforms rental like AirBnB and of the major booking agencies online like Booking, AccorHotels has profoundly changed in the past three years and has multiplied acquisitions.
It has invested in the luxury by purchasing the brands Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel, in platforms rental homes top of the range (Onefinestay, Travel Keys), in the private sale of travel (VeryChic), the concierge (John Paul).
It comes to acquire the booking platform for restaurants ResDiary, to take a 50% interest in the south african Mantis, an operator of luxury lodges, and has recently got the green light to buy australian Mantra.
It has even diversified into the event – with a minority share in Noctis, managing director of iconic parisian clubs such as Castel or Rasputin – and in commercial real estate with Bouygues (PA:BOUY).
(Pascale Denis, edited by Jean-Michel Belot)