Kenyan hotelier TPS's profit jumps 23 pct in 2011

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Kenyan hotelier TPS Eastern Africa (TPSE.NR: Quote, Profile, Research) posted a 23 percent jump in 2011 pretax profit to 853 million shillings ($10.4 million), even though security alerts hurt business in the fourth quarter.

The operator of a chain of luxury hotels, lodges and tented camps under its Serena brand, said on Wednesday demand for traditional safari and beach holidays increased steadily during the year, pushing turnover up 22 percent.

“It was, however, unfortunate that the leisure and corporate travel bookings to Kenya were negatively impacted during the last quarter 2011,” said Chief Executive Mahmud Jan Mohamed.

Some foreign governments issued travel advisories against all but essential travel to parts of Kenya near Somalia after a British tourist was killed and his wife kidnapped from a remote beach resort.

A French tourist was also kidnapped in the same area and later died in Somalia. Partly as a result of the seizures, Kenya sent soldiers into Somalia in October to fight al Shabaab rebels, who formally merged with al Qaeda in February.

The company said the outlook for business in east Africa this year continued to suggest caution in light of the debt crisis in the euro zone, traditionally a large source market for tourism, the al Shabaab situation and upcoming Kenyan elections.

“Management is cautiously optimistic that notwithstanding the challenging business environment, the group has the inherent strength and business resilience to continue to focus on its long-term business strategies,” he said.

Earnings per share rose to 4.51 shillings from a restated 3.49 shillings a year earlier, while the dividend was raised to 1.30 shillings per share from 1.25 shillings.

The east African nation earned 98 billion shillings from tourism last year, up from 74 billion in 2010, but it expects a flat performance this year. ($1 = 82.4500 Kenyan shillings) - Reuters


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