Worldwide briefing

26 October 2004
Worldwide briefing

Essential news from around the world…

China's hotel market outperforms European average

ABN Amro buys controlling stake in French contract caterer
ABN Amro Capital France has bought a 52% stake in French contract caterer Score Groupe, which operates more than 260 restaurants in companies, retirement homes and private hospitals throughout Paris, the West, the South-west and South of France. The company founders - who were seeking a financial partner to fund expansion into the North and East of France - have retained a 44% stake.

Starwood boosts third-quarter earnings by 25% Starwood Hotels and Resorts boosted its third-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) by 25% to $291m (£159m). Net income rose from $48m (£26m) to $107m (£58.5m) while turnover increased by 7% to $2.5b (£1.4b). The company (whose brands include Sheraton, Westin and W) forecasts a 23% rise in full-year Ebitda to $1.1b (£607m) on a turnover of $5.3b (£2.9m).

Hilton to open first French Worldwide Resort in Evian
Hilton International is to open its first Hilton Worldwide Resort in France in early 2006. The five-star, 173-bedroom Hilton Evian Resort & Spa will overlook the lake in the spa town of Evian. The €40m (£27.8m) development is owned by Maltese firm Tumas Group.

New Year restaurant scene undergoes renewal, claims Zagat
New York's restaurant scene has undergone its biggest revolution since the Zagat dining-out guide to the city started in 1979, claims the 26th edition of the book. This year 226 new restaurants opened in the city - 30% more than last year - while just 93 closed. The guide adds that the loss of some of the city's oldest and most famous classic French restaurants has paved the way for a more interesting and innovative generation, especially Asian restaurants.

Blackstone buys Florida's Boca Resorts for $1.25b
US private investment firm Blackstone has bought Boca Resorts of Florida for $1.25b (£678.6m) in a deal expected to be completed by early 2005. Boca Resorts owns and operates five destination resorts in Florida - two under the Hyatt Regency and Radisson brands - which incorporate hotels, conference facilities, golf courses, spas, marinas and private clubs.

McDonald's reports healthy third-quarter growth Fast-food giant McDonald's says its focus on healthy options and menu variety is paying dividends. Net income during the third quarter soared by 42% to $778.4m (£422.6m) while turnover grew by 9% to $4.9m (£2.66b). Like-for-like sales were 5.8% ahead.

Hilton boosts US third-quarter profits by 79%
Hilton Hotels Corporation of the USA boosted third-quarter net income by 79% to $61m (£33m), up from $34m (£18.5m) in the 2003 period. Turnover grew by 9% from $952m (£516.9m) to $1.033b (£561m). Revenue per available room rose at owned properties (which enjoyed a surge in business demand and room rates) and at managed and franchised hotels. The group's timeshare business also recorded a strong quarter.

by Angela Frewin

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