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Paris - The Accord hotel group, ranking sixth in the sector worldwide and number one in Europe, reported a leap in first-half net profit on Tuesday and set ambitious targets for the full year.

The company, which does not own all of the hotels which operate under its brands, also said that it would buy the bricks and mortar of 13 hotels in Britain.

Net profit in the first half jumped by 76 percent from the equivalent figure last year to 60 million euros (R845 million).

Accor, based in France, is the operator under its overall brand of the hotel chains Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis and HotelF1, accounting overall for 3,600 hotels and 450,000 rooms, from luxury hotels to low-cost operators.

Accord said it was targeting an operating profit for the full year of 575 million to 595 million euros, up from 536 million euros last year.

In the first six months of the year, operating profit amounted to 219 million euros compared with 198 million euros for the same period last year.

But sales in the first half fell by 1.8 percent to 2.59 billion euros in the six months.

In July, the group had blamed this on sluggish activity in France.

The group, which acquired a new chief executive Sebastien Bazin a year ago announced a new strategy in November.

This is based on running the group in two divisions, one called HotelServices responsible for managing hotels, and the other called HotelInvest for managing property.

The group said on Tuesday that it had bought the property assets of 13 hotels in Britain for 89 million euros.

At the end of May, the group had signalled the effects of the change in its strategy by buying part of the property assets of hotels it manages, concerning 97 hotels in Europe representing 12,878 rooms at a cost of 900 million euros. - Sapa-AFP