(MENAFN - AFP) Hotel chain Accor switched back into profit in the first half of the year but disappointed investors with a cautious outlook on Wednesday, and its shares fell 4.15 percent.
The group, the sixth-biggest hotel chain in the world and which has just shaken up its board with a new chief executive, reported a net profit of 34 million euros (45.5 million) from a loss of 532 million euros at the same time last year.
That loss reflected in part the effects of an asset sale.
But in the first six months of the year, operating profit fell by 6.6 percent to 198 million euros from 212 million euros in the same period last year.
Sales by the group, the biggest operator of hotels in Europe, fell by 0.9 percent to 2.694 billion euros, but on the basis of a comparable asset base and constant exchange rates, they rose by 1.8 percent.
The price of shares in the company fell by 4.15 percent in midday trading to 27.60 euros. The overall French market as measured by the CAC 40 index was showing a loss of 0.42 percent.
Bryan Garnier, an analyst at Bruno de La Rochebrochard, said that "globally, the results of the first half are disappointing, affected by the economic environment, but probably also the uncertainties surrounding the leadership after Denis Hennequin's departure."
Hennequin was sacked as chief executive in April over differences with the board concerning the group's strategy. He was replaced briefly by a trio of executives, and on Tuesday, Accor tapped businessman Sebastien Bazin as its new chief executive.
The group said that the fall in operating profit reflected mainly the cost of investment in line with a four-year plan costing 120 million euros.
Finance director Sophie Stabile said that activity was firm and that the group was holding to its targets for 2016.
The group said that for this year it expected an operating profit of 510-530 million euros from 526 million for 2012.
At brokers Aurel BGC, analyst Tangi Le Liboux commented that the group had been somewhat brief in its explanations for the outlook for operating profit for the year.