Accor Earnings Call Nuggets: Comp Effects, Economy Hotels

On Tuesday, Accor SA reported its third quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Comp Effects

Tim Ramskill – Credit Suisse: I have got three questions please. The first is as you look out into 2013 do you expect to be talking about negative or positive comp effects, kind of there has been a lot of one-offs in this year, I just wonder, how you feel all of those collectedly make the outlook for 2013 look like? Second question on a related things impacting next year, you have obviously got the benefits of the Ibis relaunch and the marketing push behind that, you talked about a 2% to 3% RevPAR uplift on completion of that. How much of that benefit do you expect to see next year? Then my third question is just around the fiscal changes that have taken place in France recently. Can you give us some indications at this stage as to how you feel the changes on dividend and on also the tax shield on debt how that’s going to impact your earnings numbers?

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Sophie Stabile – Global CFO: So the fiscal change today there are still some uncertainties on the measure of the governments, so we are very careful about what can be announced. So for now our base estimated based on the (indiscernible) is about EUR20 million, it’s excluding VAT and tax on dividend. So, for your second question of Ibis re-launch we expected between the 2% and 3% of increase of RevPAR for that side, but it will be on the full year basis. So, don’t forget that the total rollout of the Ibis megabrand will be finalized by mid of 2013. So, it means that the impact of this 2% to 3% impact will be in 2014. In terms of 2013, there is a lot of currency effect for 2013 and mainly what we know today it’s of course Germany, but a part of the restructuring through the asset management program will also help us to keep good level of EBIT and particularly on that country.

Tim Ramskill – Credit Suisse: Sophie, can I just clarify on the fiscal changes, so you still think (indiscernible) you said that excluded any dividend tax and any VAT changes. So, the EUR20 million figure, can you just help us understand vaguely what sits behind that, when you’re assuming to get to that number?

Sophie Stabile – Global CFO: There is a part to the financial expense and there is the other part for all the measure and particularly all the things to the social contribution, stock option and so that could be in place for 2013.

Tim Ramskill – Credit Suisse: Is that profit before tax impact of EUR20 million, post-tax, pre-tax?

Sophie Stabile – Global CFO: It’s post-tax because you know when you take as an example one which is interest – expense interest. This one is linked to a tax issue, so it will be post-EBIT.

Economy Hotels

Vaughan Lewis – Morgan Stanley: The first one is on the Economy hotels. If we look at Southern Europe, why have they been so much weaker than Midscale & Upscale hotels in countries like Spain, Italy and also the Netherlands? Why aren’t’ we seeing any sort of trading down and resilience in those economy hotels. The second one is on the restructuring process. If you look at the reduction and exposure to leases, would you expect that process to generate a cash inflow or would it be a net outflow in order to reduce that lease exposure, do you think? Then secondly as part of that, why if you are trying to reduce the exposure to leases, are you still doing sale on leasebacks in the quarter?

Sophie Stabile – Global CFO: So, the first question for economy hotels in Southern Europe, the decrease is roughly in the Upscale & Midscale because all the competitors on that market in the Upscale & Midscale segment divide by two the price of the Upscale & Midscale segments, so it means that the – all the customer go directly to Upscale & Midscale hotels and ibis Style hotel because the price are at the same level. For the Netherland, that country is mainly linked to big events that we had last year and didn’t expect rise this year. For the restructuring process what we have done in terms of what will be done in term of cash inflow or outflow we will give you some more color and detail on that side at the end of February for the annual result, and we continue to deliver our asset management plans and effectively we have put in place certain lease back for two hotels. But these two transactions was already committed since one year, so it means that we didn’t arrive to stop on that way. So since now all the transaction will be done through the new strategy but all the commitments we have already taken. We have to do it.

Vaughan Lewis – Morgan Stanley: Just a follow-up on the first one. So in Southern Europe, and we shouldn’t expect to see any resilience in economy hotels it sounds like that’s quite a bit of pressure coming from the scales above?

Sophie Stabile – Global CFO: Situation on that specific area, so for Spain, Italy and Portugal as I mentioned decrease and they are today in the crisis since 2008 so its four years and there is a lot of pressure of all the competitors and markets. So it means that all the competitor try to find occupancy in very difficult markets. So it is the reason why we didn’t see at this moment any recovery on that specific market and we expect that it will be at the same level for 2013?

Vaughan Lewis – Morgan Stanley: Same level of decline?

Sophie Stabile – Global CFO: Yes.