• Sol suffers on currency swing

Sol Melia's move into the Americas market meant its first quarter results were punished by the strong Euro.

EBITDA in the first quarter was down 3.9% but the company said that without the impact of currency, EBITDA would have been up 8.4%.

The hardest hit brands were Melia, with a quarter of its properties in Latin America, and the premium brands, with 74% of the overall portfolio in the Americas. Revpar at Melia was down 3.7%, or up 0.8% on a constant currency basis. The premium brands showed an 11.0% revpar rise when the currency effect is excluded.

Tryp, which is 73% in Spain, suffered from the early Easter as it is a city brand focused on business travellers and showed a 2.3% fall in revpar. Sol, 100% resort and 100% in Spain, benefited from the shift in Easter, showing a 4.8% uplift in revpar.

Sol said it is working to diversify its feeder markets away from the UK, Germany and Spain. It has had an office in Moscow for the past month and has five salespeople focused on Eastern European markets including the Ukraine and Poland as well as Russia.

The company confirmed that it has sold its 50% stake in Luxury Lifestyle Hotels & Resorts, the group which represents 112 franchised hotels and 5,972 rooms, to the Stein Group International.

The outlook for the traditional feeder markets was in line with last year, said Sol. It said it did not perceive any major sign of deceleration in the luxury resort segment in the US.

The robustness of demand for holidays was reinforced by this week's results of TUI Travel, Europe's largest tour operator. It said that summer trading is strong, particularly in the UK which was up 8% on last year despite a 13% capacity cut. It has taken 16% out of UK capacity for the coming winter.

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