De Vere profit slumps, hit by external costs

U.K. hotel operator De Vere Group has posted a drop in underlying first-half earnings and warned that external costs would continue to impact it in the second half of 2006. In the six months to March 26, total reported revenue - excluding any disposals but including new openings - was GBP146.5 million, down from GP154.4 million while operating profit was GBP19.5 million, down 20.8% from GBP24.6 million last year. Stripping out the effect of last year’s Belfry Hotel sale, revenue actually grew 5.7% in the first half, though operating profit was still 0.5% lower.

“Margins came under significant pressure from higher external costs,” the company said in a statement, “although substantial improvements in operating efficiency achieved by the end of the first half will help to mitigate the impact going forward.”