Ramón Aragonés CEO of NH Hotel Group levels prior to the pandemic, which have already been amortized during the last financial year.
In a press conference held during the international tourism fair Fitur, Aragonés has been “optimistic” with the future of the company, which this morning has approved canceling the last 50 million euros pending repayment of the loan with ICO guarantee for value of 250 million that signs during the health crisis.
Without showing large figures while waiting for it to present its latest annual results, the listed company is already talking about an “excellent 2022” as the year of financial recovery, in which it has consolidated its strategy of “encouraging price increases above of the occupation”.
Better records than in 2019
This evolution has led to exceeding the numbers of 2019, the last year before the coronavirus pandemic, “in the last three quarters”, despite having started the year contracting the “tremendous impact” that the Omicron variant caused in international tourism. . In fact, as NH Hotel Group has advanced, the revenue figure for 2022 will be close to 1,750 million euros, higher than that reported in 2019, while the gross operating result will be around 85% before the covid.
The group was the only one that in the early stages of 2022, in which the shadow of Omicron threatened the sector, renounced deploying advance sales campaigns when it had data that “pointed to a tremendous recovery”, so that “it had no sense to sacrifice inventory in the face of strong demand in the coming months.
Now NH Hotel Group recalls that decision with “enormous satisfaction”, and is committed to maintaining the same path and “gradually increasing occupancy but trailing price increases” as it is “the only option to maintain profitability” in the face of the rise in costs.
According to their estimates, occupancy in 2022 was lower than in 2019, precisely because of the negative impact of the first quarter. In relation to competitors, the flexible strategy of the first quarter allowed them to increase their market share by one percentage point compared to that registered just before the health crisis.
Cash generation in 2022
During his presentation, Aragonés highlighted the “strong cash generation” in 2022, which has allowed them to speed up the debt reduction that began just a year earlier. As a consequence, the net financial debt in 2022 fell by around 250 million euros to levels close to 315 million euros, compared to the 568 million reported at the end of 2021.
Part of this milestone is due to the early repayment of 200 million euros of the ICO loan, equivalent to 80% of its total amount, and to the group’s liquidity, greater than 565 million euros at the end of the year. In addition, the company’s board of directors has approved canceling the remaining 50 million of the ICO loan, making it the “first hotel company in this country” to do so.
The opening of 50 hotels next to Minor
NH Hotel Group and its majority shareholder, Minor International, look forward to a future in which they will intensify the expansion of their brands -NH Hotels, NH Collection, nhow, Tivoli, Anantara, Avani, Elewana and Oaks- in the next two years , with 50 new hotels -10,106 rooms- around the world.
In Europe and America alone, NH will open 27 hotels in the next 24 months, including the three of the luxury brand Anantara in Dublin (Ireland), Amalfi (Italy) and Vila Viçosa (Portugal). About this commitment to “ultra-luxury” Aragonés has pronounced, who has expressed the “enormous growth expectations” in this segment.
The additions also include seven new Avani establishments, a brand aimed at young travelers with hotels located in urban centers. Urban tourism “is gaining more weight than corporate tourism”, explained the CEO of NH Hotel Group, who stated that they are “very comfortable” because their portfolio is “very prepared” for this trend, which “may have higher prices “.
Finally, Aragonés has also valued the opening of tourism from China after the long closure due to the pandemic. “We are in a moment of very strong demand, but that does not mean that a demand as strong as that of Asia is not important for Europe”, he concluded. EFECOM