He said. ‘Despite the crisis which is also touching this continent long-term demand will remain it is a priority for the group.’
Accor has about 25 Ibis hotels in China and plans to open 20 more in 2009. ‘The pace of development for China for Ibis will be around 10 new units per year in the next years,’ said Stern.
Stern said the 600 million euro bond Accor sold last month would help finance its expansion.
‘At a time when it’s very difficult to go to the market and do debt raising it’ll be good to have that for the future to continue the expansion plans we launched a few years ago,’ he said.
Stern said Accor’s financial position was solid with debt below 1.1 billion euros and unused committed credit lines of 2.1 billion euros. ‘So we have the financial capability to move if we want.’
Reuters reported shares in Accor, whose top shareholders Eurazeo and U.S. investment fund Colony Capital together own over 30% of the group, have fallen 8% so far this year.