7 June 2018 – Expansión
Meliá is accelerating its growth trajectory and is seeking to continue exporting its brands overseas. The Mallorcan hotel chain is planning to open 50 new hotels around the globe over the next two years. “This means that, on average, and with the exception of force majeure or unexpected events, we will be opening a hotel somewhere in the world almost every two weeks”, said Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, Vice President and CEO of the group at the General Shareholders’ Meeting yesterday.
The company ended last year with 375 hotels and 96,239 rooms in 43 countries. Of the total, 68% of the group’s hotels are located in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), 33% in America and 9% in Asia-Pacific.
In this sense, the President of Meliá, Gabriel Escarrer Juliá, highlighted that expansion will continue to be a fundamental “motor” for growth. Escarrer Juliá explained that of the new openings planned until 2019, 20% will be located in EMEA countries, another 20% in the Mediterranean, 27% in America and another 33% in Asia-Pacific.
“Our bet for Asia-Pacific is clear if we consider that since 2013, we have more than quadrupled the number of hotels there to 45, including those that are operational and being opened”, he said.
Escarrer highlighted the operating performance of the company, which last year generated a profit, excluding capital gains, of €128.7 million, up by 27.8%, which allowed it to distribute a dividend of €0.1682 per share, in other words, €38.6 million.
Currently, 31% of the group’s EBTIDA, around €90 million, stems from the management of hotels. “This model allows us to generate high returns with minimal capital requirements since we invest in the acquisition of high-value management contracts and not in real estate assets”.
The CEO of Meliá underlined the effort undertaken in terms of digitalisation and quantified the investment in this area at €100 million over the last three years. That has resulted in the greater role of the corporate website in the business. The director explained that revenues proceeding from melia.com amounted to €520 million in 2017, up by 21%.
The director said that the group’s strategy involves continuing to rotate assets and strengthen their alliances with their partners to grow and improve the hotel portfolio. In 2017, Meliá spent €244 million maintaining and renovating its hotel portfolio.
“We have initiated a new valuation of our portfolio of assets, the global results of which we will have during the third quarter. I trust that the outcome of that valuation exercise will be positive.
Escarrer also referred to the challenges facing the company, including the push from new competitors such as Airbnb and the political instability.
“We feel very comfortable and confident of being able to fulfil the objectives of our strategic plan, although we monitor the main risk factors in our industry very closely, such as the evolution of the so-called collaborative economies and of processes that generate uncertainty, such as Brexit and the complex political situations in countries such as Italy and Spain”.
In any case, he reiterated the forecasts for 2018, with an improvement in RevPAR (average revenue per available room) (…) and an increase in margins of between 100 and 150 basis points.
Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake