>InterContinental Hotels Sales Up After 18 Months Of Falls

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>LONDON (Dow Jones)–InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (IHG) Tuesday reported a 15% rise in first-quarter profit as the return of business travelers to high-end hotels drove its first positive revenue performance in 18 months.

The world’s largest hotel operator by number of rooms said that its operating profit rose to $83 million in the three months to March 31 from $72 million the previous year. Intercontinental, which counts Holiday Inn, Intercontinental and Crowne Plaza among its brands, said that revenue per available room, or RevPAR–a key industry measure–grew 0.2% in the quarter, accelerating to 4.1% in the month of March and 5.2% in April. In the last three months of 2009, RevPAR dropped 10.9%.

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