Le Meridien FD bemoans travel slump

Link: Business travel picks up in US and Europe

A full profile will appear on the website tomorrow.

Ian Ferguson said that despite financial problems the company is facing, it still plans on continuing its strategy of refurbishing a great number of its hotels and operating a series of sale and leaseback arrangements.

He said the destruction of the World Trade Center ‘probably cost us a year in terms of where we were going with our strategy as there was less cash available to upgrade stock,’ said Ferguson.

The chain has recently hit major problems with financing that has forced the investors who arranged the £1.9bn buyout of the company two years ago to write off their debts.

Le Meridien is also currently breaching banking covenants with the company valued at only £700m but carrying debts of £1bn. New management has been brought in to present a rescue plan to the group of 20 companies still owed money by Le Meridien next week.

The effects of the terrorist attack had been magnified by such other conditions as a worsening global economy, the war in Iraq and more recently the outbreak of the deadly SARS virus.

A full profile will appear on the website tomorrow.

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