ITC to add 8-10 hotels in 3-5 years

ITC to add 8-10 hotels in 3-5 years

Mumbai: ITC Ltd expects to add 8-10 hotels in India in the next 3-5 years to the 110 the diversified company currently operates, as a growing economy boosts demand for rooms, an official said on Thursday.

Dipak Haksar, chief operating officer of ITC’s hotels division, said it would add two properties in 2010-11 at Chennai and Kolkata, but did not give details of investment.

“There are many projects in the pipeline. We can safely say 8-10 projects in the next 3-5 years," he said.

ITC, 31.7% owned by British American Tobacco Plc., is India’s top cigarette maker. It also has interests in consumer goods and apparel, and agri-business.

The company said last year it plans to invest about $2 billion (Rs9,100 crore) on its hotels business over five years. Occupancy levels are set to pick up on the back of improving market conditions in the coming months, Haskar said.

“There will definitely be a growth in occupancy as volumes are improving and hopefully we will see a rise in yields as well," he said.

Average room rates are currently 8-10% below last year’s levels, and should mark up by March, he said. Hotels in India were forced to cut room tariffs in 2009 as demand was hit by the global financial meltdown.

ITC shares closed down 0.3% at Rs248.15 on the Bombay Stock Exchange that rose 0.4%.