• Rezidor quiet on IPO prospects

Rezidor Hospitality, one of the fastest growing hotel operators in Europe, said operating profits were almost 2.5 times bigger in 2005 than in 2004.

But the company was tight-lipped on whether it is still on track to seek a public listing during 2006 or 2007, as was planned two years ago.

The EBITDA increase to Eu45.2m from Eu18.8m was accompanied by a 20% increase in sales to Eu587m.

Rezidor was a wholly owned subsidiary of airline group SAS until last summer when Carlson Hotels acquired 25% of the group in return for a renegotiated master franchise agreement.

This deal provided a cost reduction worth Eu6m for the second half of 2005. The full-year effect is estimated at Eu11m but this is expected to rise in line with revenue.

Since the deal with Carlson, an IPO remains the most likely exit for the majority owners. Back in 2004, chief executive Kurt Ritter said that the then loss-making unit would take at least three years to grow big enough to seek a listing.

During 2005, Rezidor added 29 new hotel contracts totalling almost 5,000 rooms. This 16% growth in rooms left it with 263 hotels (including 46 under construction) with around 50,000 rooms.

The company has signed a worldwide license agreement with the Italian fashion house Missoni to develop up to 30 hotels in 10 years.

A previous deal with Cerruti appears to have fallen by the wayside. The first property to be opened under this new brand was to be in Dubai Media City. However, the 121-room hotel, which is due to have a second 125-room tower open this year, began trading last month under the Radisson SAS brand.

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