Asian storm clouds gather over hotelier M&C

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HOTELIER Millennium & Copthorne expects its full-year profit to fall short of the mark after warning that the worst of a slowdown in its core Asian market was not yet over.

The firm, which has some 100 hotels globally, said trading in Asia, where it generates 40 per cent of its revenue, had suffered from slower growth in China, falling tourist numbers in South Korea and a host of problems in its biggest market, Singapore.

Chairman Kwek Leng Beng said: “Singapore will see another increase in the number of hotel rooms this year, which is putting pressure on revenues, whilst government’s tighter foreign labour quotas are putting pressure on costs.

“We also have the spectre of Avian flu returning in Asia, so all in all the continent looks like it will remain a more challenging hospitality market for the time being… The worst in Asia, I think, is not over.”

M&C’s pre-tax profit for the first quarter fell by 34.7 per cent to £16.9 million.