An improving hospitality business environment helped Hospitality Property Fund to lift interim distributions. The listed hotel and leisure property fund reported yesterday that distributions for the six months to December last year would grow an annual 5 percent to 66.51c for each A-linked unit and 16.2 percent to 9.19c for each B-linked unit. Both distributions were in line with those contained in the forecast in Hospitality’s rights offer circular issued in May last year. The fund said industry statistics had confirmed the recovery trend in the hospitality market that had commenced about 12 months ago, with growth in occupancies and room rates matching levels last seen prior to the global downturn in 2008. Hospitality said it had made further progress with its strategy of improving the quality of its property portfolio. The acquisition of 78.2 percent of the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel in Sandton and associated facilities for R346.7 million in December was a prime example of this strategy. It said the fund was well positioned to benefit from the positive fundamentals and recovery in the hospitality sector. Distributions for the year to June were expected to be at least in line with the forecast issued in the rights offer circular. The A units rose 6.06 percent to R17.50 while the B units fell 4.35 percent to R4.40 yesterday. – Roy Cokayne