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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 engaging place” for listed corporations 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 20 years in the past, requested at an investor roadshow final month whether or not it had any plans to change its main itemizing to the US, IHG chief government Keith Barr advised the Monetary Instances. The group has a secondary itemizing in New York.

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

Choices by a number of giant corporations 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 greatest constructing supplies group, mentioned it could 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 main itemizing in future.

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

“The overall consensus is [London’s] not a really engaging place to listing new corporations versus different markets,” mentioned 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 time and desires to search out its means 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 a terrific location to be based mostly out of” for a world firm. IHG is headquartered in Windsor, 30 miles west of the capital.

He additionally careworn that “there’s no clamouring” for a change in itemizing from shareholders and administration was “not at present contemplating” the matter, however acknowledged “that might change in some unspecified time in the future 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 coming into a recession since final August and it’s consistently being mentioned that possibly subsequent quarter the recession goes to be right here, however it has not arrived,” he added.

Barr mentioned IHG, the world’s fourth-biggest resort 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, compared with different London-listed sectors due to 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 yr earlier than however nonetheless down on gross sales of $4.6bn in 2019.

Barr mentioned IHG’s push into the luxurious phase would assist gas its restoration. Luxurious and ‘life-style’ inns account for 13 per cent of IHG’s rooms, however 20 per cent of its pipeline comes from this phase.

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