Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor, commented:
“The Group delivered a record performance again for FY 2019. This is all the more outstanding against a difficult macroeconomic background and in light of our successful transformation, parallel to achieving growth. Today, Accor is more diversified than ever, and a fully asset-light group. Going forward, we will pursue the execution of our strategy, focusing on our roadmap and value creation for shareholders. While these are challenging times for China, our thoughts are with the Chinese people, our teams, our clients and our partners there. As we are actively managing the situation in the region, our focus is on the fundamentals, which are the cornerstone of our business model: the excellence of our 300,000-strong workforce, our powerful brands, our top-performing distribution tools and loyalty programs, our consolidated leadership position in high potential regions, and our highly robust financial position. By leveraging these assets, we are confident in our ability to pursue our growth objectives and enhance sustainable shareholder returns.”
The full-year 2019 results confirm the strength of the asset-light model. The company delivered on its targets despite the uncertain environment. After adding a record 45,108 rooms (327 hotels) on an organic basis during the period, including 12,954 rooms (65 hotels) in the Luxury segment, Accor had a portfolio of 739,537 rooms (5,036 hotels) and a pipeline of 208,000 rooms (1,206 hotels) at December 31, 2019, of which 76% in emerging markets.
Reported revenue for the period reflects the following factors:
- Changes in the scope of consolidation (acquisitions and disposals) had a positive impact of €380 million (+10.9%), largely due to the contributions of Mantra and Mövenpick;
- Currency effects had a positive impact of €48 million (+1.4%), mainly due to the US dollar (€50 million).
Consolidated RevPAR rose by 1.7% overall during the period.
M&F revenue increased substantially in Europe (up 4.0% like-for-like), underpinned by RevPAR growth of 2.6% all segments combined.
- In France, RevPAR was up 2.6% like-for-like. The strong first half of the year, buoyed by events such as the Paris Air Show and the FIFA Women’s World Cup, was offset by a softer end of year. The Paris region (RevPAR up 1.6% in full-year 2019) suffered from the absence of certain major conventions (Autoshow, SIAL,…) and from the strikes, which had an impact on corporate customers in the fourth quarter, while the regional cities were more resilient (+3.3%);
- RevPAR remained stable (+0.2%) in the United Kingdom, with considerable differences persisting between London and the regional cities. The increase in RevPAR in London (+2.0%) reflected the still-dynamic domestic tourism market, offsetting the decline in RevPAR seen in the regional cities (-1.7%) due to soft corporate demand;
- RevPAR rose by 1.4% in Germany. RevPAR growth picked up in the fourth quarter, as expected, due to a more favorable trade fair calendar.
- RevPAR was down 6.1% in China in full-year 2019. While domestic demand remained strong, trade tensions between China and the United States, combined with the unrest in Hong Kong, continued to cause market conditions to deteriorate. This had a significant impact on business;
- RevPAR growth in Australia was slightly negative at -0.8%. The slowdown in tourism from China affected demand and the major fires that broke out in the country had an adverse impact at the end of the year.
M&F revenue in the Middle East & Africa region rose by 5.3% despite moderate RevPAR growth of 0.9%. This strong growth in revenue can be attributed to the expansion of the network in the region and the receipt of payments for breach of contract.
M&F revenue in North America, Central America & the Caribbean was up 1.5%, driven by 0.7% RevPAR growth in the region.
Lastly, South America continued to post significant growth, particularly in Brazil, with revenue up 13.0% reflecting a 12.3% increase in RevPAR.
Services to Owners, which includes the Sales, Marketing, Distribution and Loyalty division, as well as shared services and the repayment of hotel personnel costs, generated revenue of €1,867 million, versus €1,654 million in full-year 2018.
Hotel Assets & Other revenue
Hotel Assets & Other revenue was up 2.9% like-for-like to €1,077 million. The reported rise of 43.4% notably reflects the consolidation of Mantra in May 2018 and Mövenpick in September of the same year. Following the reclassification of Orbis’ real estate operations to assets held for sale in accordance with IFRS 5, this segment was mainly driven by the Asia-Pacific region.
Excluding Orbis and the Mövenpick leased hotel portfolio, the division’s hotel base consisted of 163 hotels and 29,417 rooms at December 31, 2019.
New Businesses revenue
New Businesses (concierge services, luxury home rentals, private sales for luxury hotel stays, and digital services for hotels) generated revenue of €159 million at end-December 2019, up 3.8% on a like-for-like basis. The 7.2% increase as reported reflects the acquisitions of ResDiary and Adoria in April and June 2018, respectively
Asia-Pacific performance affected by Mantra
Accor’s various real-estate disposals, combined with the strong organic system growth in the region and the acquisition of Mantra in May 2018, left consolidated revenue highly exposed to Asia-Pacific, at 33% of revenue (excluding reimbursement costs).
This increase in revenue exposure to Asia-Pacific is coupled with Hotel Assets’ relatively greater weight than in other regions. These businesses are inherently more sensitive to economic conditions. This sensitivity was particularly evident at Mantra in 2019 as it had to contend with a worsening environment in Australia, resulting in a €150 million impairment.
The Asia-Pacific region is also currently being hit hard by the health crisis related to Covid-19, the effects of which are global and hard to measure. Accor will provide additional information at its results presentation.
Recurring free cash flow came to €434 million at December 31, 2019, reflecting a cash conversion rate of 77%.
Recurring expenditure—which includes key money paid by HotelServices for its development and its digital and IT investments, as well as maintenance expenditure for the remaining owned and leased hotels—was €161 million in 2019, versus €106 million in the prior-year period.
Net debt was €1,333 million at December 31, 2019, a €180 million increase from December 31, 2018 largely due to the recognition of lease liabilities under IFRS 16 in the amount of €978 million, offset by the disposal of a 5.2% stake in AccorInvest (€199 million) and an approximately 5% stake in Huazhu (€398 million), as well as the sale and management back transaction involving the Mövenpick leased hotels (€430 million).
In January 2019, Accor successfully placed two bonds: a €600 million senior bond maturing in 2026 with a 1.75% coupon and a €500 million perpetual hybrid bond with a 4.38% coupon and a first call date in 2024. These transactions allowed for the early redemption of a €350 million bond maturing in 2021 with a 2.63% coupon and the redemption of €386 million on the perpetual hybrid bond with a first call date in 2020.
In October 2019, Accor further optimized its hybrid capital through the placement of a new €500 million perpetual hybrid bond with a 2.63% coupon and a first call date in 2025. This transaction enabled it to finance the redemption of €386 million on the perpetual hybrid bond with a first call date in 2020. Following this second redemption, Accor had redeemed a total of 85.7% of the amount of the hybrid bond initially issued in 2014.
This series of liability management transactions lowered the average cost of the Group’s debt to 1.8% and brought its average maturity to a comfortable level of 3.7 years at December 31, 2019.
Based on its 2019 results, and on the recommendation of its Board of Directors, Accor will ask the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting of April 30, 2020 to approve the payment of a dividend of €1.05 per share with the option of payment entirely in cash or entirely in shares with a discount of 5%.
Over and above the €300 million share buyback program already launched on 20 January 2020, two new share buyback programs will be launched for €300 million in 2020 and €400 million in 2021. Beyond that, the Group plans to maintain a shareholder return policy in addition to its policy of distributing ordinary dividends.
Events in 2019
In January 2019, Accor successfully completed two liability management transactions:
- On January 24, Accor placed two bonds, for €1.1 billion:
– a €500 million perpetual hybrid bond with a 4.38% coupon;
– a €600 million 7-year senior bond with a 1.75% coupon.
Both transactions were oversubscribed by about six times, reflecting strong investor confidence in the Group’s new business model, growth potential and attractive risk profile.
- On January 31, Accor successfully closed these tender offers and partially redeemed two bonds, namely a perpetual hybrid bond (4.12% coupon) and a senior bond maturing in 2021 (2.63% coupon), for a total amount of €736 million:
– €386 million on the perpetual hybrid bond (€900 million bond issued in June 2014);
– €350 million on the 2021 bond.
On February 25, Accor established a €500 million Negotiable European Commercial Paper (NEU CP) program. With this program, Accor has diversified its sources of funding while optimizing its average cost of debt.
In October 2019, Accor further optimized its hybrid capital:
- On October 23, Accor successfully placed a €500 million perpetual hybrid bond with a 2.625% coupon. It was oversubscribed by about six times, reflecting renewed investor confidence;
- On October 30, Accor announced that it had finalized the refinancing of its hybrid capital with a successful tender offer on a perpetual hybrid bond (4.12% coupon) in the amount of €386 million. Following this second redemption, Accor had redeemed a total of 85.7% of the amount of the hybrid bond initially issued in 2014.
Transformation to asset-light business model completed
On January 23, Accor confirmed it had acquired a 33.15% stake in Orbis for approximately €339 million. Accor then had an 85.84% interest in Orbis’ share capital. As a result, Accor strengthened its control of Orbis, consolidating its leadership position in Eastern Europe. It signed a cooperation agreement under which the Group and Orbis would work on structuring options.
On June 12, Accor announced significant progress on the Orbis disposal process. Accor would acquire Orbis’ hotel services business for €286 million and begin the process of disposing of its real-estate operations, whose gross asset value (excluding corporate overhead) was €1.18 billion at end-2018.
On November 18, Accor announced an agreement to sell a 5.2% stake in AccorInvest to several existing shareholders of the company, for c.€200 million.
On December 5, Accor announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to sell approximately 5% stake in Huazhu Group Limited for $451 million.
On December 16, Accor announced two new transactions and an additional return to shareholders:
- A binding agreement to sell its 85.8% stake in Orbis corresponding to proceeds of €1.06 billion, in line with Orbis’ gross asset value;
- A transaction to restructure the Mövenpick leased hotel portfolio through a sale and management back agreement, thereby reducing Accor’s consolidated debt by €430 million.
Accor thus further increased its financial strength and announced a €1.0 billion return to shareholders, to be executed over the next 24 months.
On February 21, Accor announced the launch of a new customer promise embodied by the “ALL Accor Live Limitless” program, which will combine its distribution platforms with a new experiential loyalty program. Against this backdrop, the Group also announced several international partnerships, notably with AEG, IMG and the Paris Saint-Germain Football Club. ALL will become the club’s principal partner and official jersey sponsor as of the 2019/2020 season.
On March 4, Accor continued to expand its brand portfolio with the launch of its new midscale lifestyle brand, TRIBE.
On March 5, sbe launched a new global lifestyle brand, The House of Originals.
On April 4, Accor announced the opening of two majestic hotels in India, Raffles Jaipur and Raffles Udaipur. The move signals a new direction for Accor in this country, with a stronger focus on luxury and premium brands.
On June 20, Accor and Air France-KLM strengthened their loyalty program partnership, enabling members of the Flying Blue and ALL loyalty programs to earn miles and points simultaneously.
On November 6, Accor and Alibaba entered into a strategic partnership to develop a full range of digital applications and loyalty programs that will improve the consumer and traveler experience.
On September 2, Accor announced the launch of a new international employee share ownership plan in 12 countries.
On October 4, Accor announced the resumption of the liquidity contract entered into with Rothschild Martin Maurel, which had been suspended as of July 27, 2018.
On December 12, Accor Group’s Board of Directors decided to propose that Sébastien Bazin be reappointed as Chairman and CEO for a three-year term.
On January 20, 2020, Accor entered into an agreement with an investment services provider to carry out a €300 million share buyback.
On January 22, 2020, Accor and Sabre joined forces to create the first unified technology platform for the hospitality industry.
On February 18, 2020, Accor and Visa, the global leader in digital payments, announced a global partnership to bring new payment experiences to ALL-Accor Live Limitless loyalty members.
Upcoming events in 2020
April 22, 2020: Publication of first-quarter 2020 revenue.