Accor SA Earnings Call Insights: Expansion Plans and Drop Through

Accor SA (AC) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Expansion Plans

Jarrod Castle – UBS: Two or three if I may. Firstly, do you think in terms of your expansion plans that those are on track towards, I guess, 30,000 rooms for the full year, just given that you have done 10,000? And just related to that, you spoke a little bit about some projects being (postponed) in China and India. If you could just expand on the reasons and whether or not do you think this is a short-term trend or not, I guess? Then just kind of looking a little bit further ahead in kind of Q3, any kind of base effect should be in a kind of a wear off besides I guess the Olympics. But it seems like you said kind of trends have continued to what you have seen. I guess, you have got some tough competitors in some of the markets. Any comments about that?

Sophie Stabile – Global CFO: So, in term of expansion based on the current pipeline we should be slightly below 30,000 rooms at the end of 2013. And to be more precise on China and India what we can say that in these two main countries China and India we have very strong pipeline and we saw effectively there are few projects was postponed. For China, it is mainly linked toward (creditizing), slowing down expansion; and for India, it is mainly linked to the high interest rates which have an impact also on the credit. So, it is mainly linked to these two effects. And what we can say is that all these pipelines at this moment is postponed and not cancelled. So, at this moment we are confident to deliver the four years plan in term of expansion plans. In terms of Q3 base effect so there is not lot of base effect on – for the Q3. As I mentioned we are still confident in term of trend and what we have seen under H1 it will be – we will be in the same level for July and August, so for the summer season. And it is too early now to do some projection for September. I remember that in terms of booking the visibility is still 30 days.

Drop Through

Vicki Lee – Barclays Capital: Just couple of questions. Firstly, will you be able to give any guidance around the drop through for the first half and I guess particularly thinking about the timing of the cost cuts, how much of the planned €100 million, just like to see through in H1. And then, any more specific comments on drop through rates? Second question just on the asset sales, I guess, we haven’t re-seen any separate announcements in that regard but a disposal figure in Q2 certainly looks a bit better than Q1, could you just comment on that’s going and how you feel regard to the asset restructuring against the targets?

Sophie Stabile – Global CFO: So, in terms of drop through we will be more precise for the result at the end of August, and as I have already mentioned the impact of digital distribution plan will have 10 point on the drop through. So, there is no change in these fees. For the asset sale, as I mentioned we will give you more detail for the (half) results by the end of August.

Vicki Lee – Barclays Capital: Just any comment on more specifics regard to any underlying change if you called out Portugal and Italy as having seen just a little bit of a underlying recovery should we understand that essentially no other markets have already changed in terms of underlying performance and then anything more specifically on particularly from the Germany or the U.K.?

Sophie Stabile – Global CFO: So, there is no specific, I will say, change for Portugal and Italy. We have pretty good Q2 for that two countries, but no any anticipation for the end of the year. We are very cautious on that specific market and as I mentioned on Spain, it’s still difficult. So, at this stage, we don’t expect any recoveries for Spain and we are very cautious for Portugal and Italy. For France and U.K., we have a stable trend on that two market, and particularly for provinces and the main cities. So we expect that we keep the same trend for July and August and we will see for the end of the year, but at this point it’s quite good today.