InterContinental Hotels chief warns London stock market ‘not a very attractive place’

The chief of Vacation Inn proprietor InterContinental Motels Group has warned that the UK inventory market is “not a really enticing place” for listed firms and known as on authorities to get on the “entrance foot” to arrest additional decline.

A number of shareholders within the group, which has been listed in London because it demerged from pubs enterprise Mitchells & Butlers twenty years in the past, requested at an investor roadshow final month whether or not it had any plans to modify its major itemizing to the US, IHG chief govt Keith Barr instructed the Monetary Occasions. The group has a secondary itemizing in New York.

“Once we listed, there was in all probability no cause to even take into consideration itemizing within the US for our major itemizing as a result of the FTSE was the FTSE and it was extremely liquid . . . however issues have modified,” stated Barr.

Choices by a number of giant firms to shun the Metropolis in favour of New York have sparked fears about the way forward for the London inventory market.

Final month CRH, the world’s largest constructing supplies group, stated it will relist in New York and Cambridge-based chip designer Arm shunned a secondary London itemizing regardless of pleas from the UK authorities. Flutter, the world’s largest listed playing firm, is awaiting the results of a shareholder vote a few secondary US itemizing, with an eye fixed to switching its major itemizing in future.

Though there are particular causes in every case, the deeper pool of capital within the US is a big draw for teams searching for development.

“The overall consensus is [London’s] not a really enticing place to record new firms versus different markets,” stated Barr. He argued the FTSE wanted to tempt again funding from pension and insurance coverage funds to enhance liquidity and ease governance guidelines in contrast with the US.

London’s inventory market “hasn’t been on its entrance foot for a short while and desires to seek out its method again there”, he added.

Though greater than half of IHG’s revenues come from the US, Barr nonetheless defended the deserves of the UK, saying it “remains to be an ideal location to be based mostly out of” for a global firm. IHG is headquartered in Windsor, 30 miles west of the capital.

He additionally burdened that “there’s no clamouring” for a change in itemizing from shareholders and administration was “not presently contemplating” the matter, however acknowledged “that would change sooner or later sooner or later”.

His feedback got here because the journey sector continues its restoration from the pandemic. Regardless of fears that an financial slowdown would undermine the rebound, Barr insisted that “nobody’s seeing any cracks in journey proper now”.

“We’ve been speaking about getting into a recession since final August and it’s continually being stated that possibly subsequent quarter the recession goes to be right here, however it has not arrived,” he added.

Barr stated IHG, the world’s fourth-biggest lodge group by gross sales with a market capitalisation of £9.2bn, confronted a smaller valuation hole in contrast with its US rivals, Hilton and Marriott, as compared with different London-listed sectors because of a rebound in journey boosting its efficiency.

IHG, which owns 18 manufacturers together with Crowne Plaza and Regent Motels, reported revenues of $3.9bn in 2022, up 33 per cent on the 12 months earlier than however nonetheless down on gross sales of $4.6bn in 2019.

Barr stated IHG’s push into the luxurious section would assist gasoline its restoration. Luxurious and ‘way of life’ motels account for 13 per cent of IHG’s rooms, however 20 per cent of its pipeline comes from this section.

“There’s going to be much more partnerships and much more small M&A taking place, significantly as [smaller operators] realise how tough it’s to develop significantly in the next rate of interest atmosphere,” he stated.

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