I am pleased to report an increase of 18% in pre-tax profits for the six months ended 31 October 2000 of €32.82 million compared with the corresponding period in 1999 (€27.83 million). Turnover for the period was €130.0 million an increase of 18.7% (1999: €109.5 million). Earnings per share amounted to 45.4c an improvement of 18.2% (1999: 38.4c). Excluding goodwill amortisation, earnings per share amounted to 48.2c, an improvement of 17.3% (1999: 41.1c).
Business was very buoyant across the Group with overall room occupancies in line with the high levels achieved in the corresponding period last year. Our four-star 170 bedroom hotel in Great Russell Street in London opened for business towards the end of September 2000 and comments from customers have been very favourable. During October 2000 we officially opened the 69 bedroom extension to Jurys Clifton Ford Hotel bringing the total number of bedrooms in the hotel to 255.
In July 2000 we announced the development of a 240 bedroom Jurys Inn in the centre of the London Borough of Croydon. The total cost of the development including land acquisition and construction will be Stg£15m. Work on the site is well underway and is scheduled for completion in January 2002.
Our ongoing capital expenditure programme continued during the six months, which saw the completion of the ground floor refurbishment of The Berkeley Court. The public areas of Jurys Limerick Hotel were also finished, together with the upgrading of bedrooms in
The Westbury, The Berkeley Court and Jurys Kensington Hotel.
Trading for the months of November and December 2000 remains strong and is ahead of the corresponding months of last year and barring unforeseen circumstances another excellent year is anticipated.
The Group’s strategy continues to focus on organic and acquisitive growth in city locations, achieving a segmental spread and a balance of business between corporate, leisure and tourism.
The Directors have declared an interim dividend of 7.174c per share (IR5.65p per share) an increase of 19% on the previous year’s interim dividend. The interim dividend is subject to Irish Dividend Withholding Tax (DWT). Dividend warrants will be posted on 6 April 2001 to holders of ordinary shares at close of business on the record date which is 9 March 2001.
Copies of the interim statement will be posted to shareholders and will be available at the Group’s registered office.