The country’s largest hotel firm, Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), reported a net profit of Rs 234 crore, a fall of 38 per cent from the previous financial year.
Apart from the global economic slump which hit around November, there was the terrorist attack the same month on its prized property, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower. Said Anil P Goel, executive director – finance: “We started on a strong note and till November all was fine. But it was the last four months of the year which eroded our top line completely. However, we did manage the cost strongly.”
There was a foreign exchange loss of Rs 22 crore during the year, arising as a gain on conversion of deposits placed with wholly owned subsidiaries into investment, mentioned the company.
Total revenue for the year dipped by 13 per cent, at Rs 1,534 crore as compared to Rs 1,764 crore posted by the company in 2007-08.
Company officials said it will spend Rs 300 crore as capital expenditure this financial year, mainly for completing ongoing projects. It will throw open nearly 1,800 rooms consisting of the Taj, Gateway and and Ginger brands this year.
Officials said the management is confident of a strong domestic market this year, with a bit of turnaround already taking place. “We experienced a pressure on tourist arrivals into the country but we see that easing in the next six months. So, hopefully, business should be back on track by January next year,” said one.
The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Colaba, partially devastated in the November terrorist attack, will be opened entirely by year end or January. The fifth and sixth floor of the heritage wing suffered the most damage. Said R K Krishna Kumar, Vice – Chairman, IHCL: “We are trying to restore the structure to its original face. We opened the Sea Lounge recently, while the Golden Dragon and Wasabi will be thrown open in the next three months. Our commitment is to get it back into its original glory.”