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More than 900 staff let go, almost all hotels now open – M&C

27 May 2020  By Staff Reporter | | @tourismticker

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels reported its most profitable year ever ending December 2019 but “all of that is now in the past”, says chairman BK Chiu.

Before Covid-19, the company had more than 1300 employees at its 20 hotels across the country, but 70%, or 910 staff, had now lost their jobs.

“We have lost and will be losing many long-serving and very loyal employees as a direct result of this crisis,” Chiu said in his address to the company’s virtual AGM on Tuesday afternoon.

B K Chiu

“We are sorry to see them go and hopefully we will see some of them again when tourism gets back to more normal levels.

“Conferencing and meetings will also not be as they were. Our restaurants and bar areas will need to change to accommodate new rules on seating and safe distancing. The whole guest experience will be very different.”

In 2019, the company gleaned an increased profit after tax of $49.7m, higher revenue of $229.7m, and better revenue per available room of $132.46.

These results allowed the Board to maintain a dividend of 7.5 cents a share.

“Obviously the situation for this year is extremely different given Covid-19, “ Chiu said during the virtual annual meeting today.

Hotel revenue was almost identical to the previous year at $126m, and so was hotel occupancy at 80.8%, and the average room rate was marginally higher at $163.97.

However, 2020 trading showed a very different picture with hotel revenue of $31.6m in the year to date ending April compared with $47.6m for the same period in 2019.

Occupancy in the year to date ending April was 57% compared with 89% in April 2019 but in the month of April, it plummeted to 1.5%.

Room rates were higher at $183 compared with $176 compared with the same period in 2019, but RevPAR was lower at $105 compared with $157.

The company said it had low debt and no plans to raise capital or increase bank borrowings.

All except one of the group’s 20 hotels were open again with the exception of Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront.

Chiu urged Auckland Council to abandon its accommodation providers targeted rate, and Queenstown Lakes District Council’s proposed bed tax, describing it as “ill-advised, poorly researched and discriminatory”.


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