On 31 August 2021, International Hotel Investments plc published its interim financial statements covering the six-month period ended 30 June 2021.
During the first six months of 2021, IHI generated €34.6 million in revenues, representing a drop of 33% over the previous comparable figure of €51.7 million. The growth in turnover from the rental of investment property (+11.8% to €7.96 million) and hotel management (+20.4% to €2.22 million) was offset by the contraction in the hotel operations (-32% to €25 million) reflecting the full impact of the pandemic following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe in mid-March 2020.
On the expenditure side, net operating costs dropped by 28.8% to €51.4 million as IHI continued to implement severe cost-cutting measures with a view of mitigating the substantial adverse impact of the pandemic. The Group also tapped into various Government support schemes covering payroll and other forms of subsidies/support in several countries where it operates.
Excluding depreciation and amortisation charges (-€2.49 million to €15.9 million), EBITDA improved to negative €0.83 million compared to a negative figure of €2.13 million in the first half of 2020.
Meanwhile, IHI’s financial performance was positively impacted by the higher level of favourable movements in the fair value of financial assets (+€0.26 million to €0.63 million), lower net finance costs (-€1.75 million to €13.7 million), and lower share of net loss of associates and joint ventures (-€0.74 million to -€0.29 million). With respect to the latter, IHI noted that the Golden Sands Resort is now consolidated in the Group financial statements following the acquisition of the remaining 50% for a total consideration of €13 million in February 2021.
Overall, IHI reported a pre-tax loss of €30.2 million compared to a pre-tax loss of €36.7 million in the first half of 2020. After accounting for tax income of €3.78 million and a loss of €4.1 million pertaining to minority interests (H1 2020: loss of €5.01 million), IHI posted a net loss of €22.3 million.
The Statement of Financial Position as at 30 June 2021, when compared to the corresponding figures as at 31 December 2020, shows that IHI’s net assets contracted by 3.4% to €583 million which, in turn, translates into a net asset value per share of €0.947. Total assets increased by almost 3% to €1.59 billion (including cash and bank balances of €39.1 million, as well as €9 million in marketable investments) whilst total liabilities climbed by 8.1% to €833.2 million. Total borrowings increased by nearly 6% to €644.9 million (when including lease liabilities amounting to €11.8 million, as well as other financial liabilities amounting to €17.9 million) whilst the Group’s gearing ratio rose to 46% from 44% as at the end of 2020.
In their commentary, the Directors explained that following periods of intermittent lockdowns and significant disruptions, all the Group’s hotels and businesses are now open and that IHI is confident to emerge successfully from the difficult situation of the pandemic. Demand varies from country to country, with the highest performances being registered in countries with strong local markets, such as the UK and Russia. Nonetheless, all hotels and businesses are focused on maintaining tight disciplines on capital expenditure and all operating costs including payroll whilst making sure that the business is well equipped for a return of demand. In parallel, however, in almost all countries where IHI has a presence, the Group’s most imminent challenges are related to labour shortages as the industry generally struggles to attract back workers as demand increases.
The Group’s targets for year-end are not overly ambitious, and financial planning is based on cautious revenue expectations and the continuation of subsidies and support schemes only to the extent that these have been publicly committed.
IHI reiterated its commitment towards its various new projects. Works are underway on Corinthia Hotel projects in Doha, Rome, New York, Bucharest, and Moscow, where Group subsidiary companies are involved as development partners, technical services providers and hotel operators, with most of the capital funding for these projects being provided by third parties. Meanwhile, the redevelopment of the Grand Hotel Astoria in Brussels is ongoing with the main packages of the construction contract awarded to a renowned Belgian contractor. IHI has a 50% share in this project. Elsewhere in Malta, the Group has submitted plans for the building of a low-lying, highly landscaped resort for the site formerly known as ‘Hal-Ferh’.