Louis Plc has recorded a significant increase in net profits but problems are still there because of a drop in tourism and the need for the group’s debt to go further down.
This is what Louis Plc Chairman Costakis Loizou told the group’s 20th Annual General Meeting in Nicosia last week.
The goal, he added, is to reduce the group’s debt so as to minimise liabilities and risks. Asked to be more specific, Loizou said there are no red loans and that the group’s overall debt to banks was down from some €500 million three years ago to €244 million today.
Regarding the hotel sector, Loizou said the group follows the international trend of hoteliers getting disengaged from hotel ownership and focusing instead on management. He then referred to the sale of the group’s shares in the five-star Cyprus Hilton, in the operation of Louis Paphos Breeze and the newly-constructed Louis Ivi Mare.
He also underlined the importance of the renovation of Nicosia’s Hilton Park at the overall cost of €7 million, followed by the renewal of the agreement with Hilton International so as to safeguard the 5-star rating.
As for Celestyal Cruises, Loizou said they recorded an 8% passenger increase in 2018. And that for 2019, the season has been extended with the addition of two new routes as well. Announcing the new route from Venice to the Adriatic Sea as from 2020, Loizou said: “We do hope that the hard days are over.”
2019 prospects are not that rosy mainly because of Louis Hotels, he said.
“The uncertainty that comes with Brexit is expected to negatively affect the year’s results. There is already a decrease in bookings,” he added. Loizou then explained that the rising numbers in arrivals over the recent past year years were mainly due to the region’s geopolitical developments.
However, a serious problem for hoteliers is the increased number of tourists going to the occupied area of Cyprus for vacation. And another thorny issue is the non-licensed accommodation available on online platforms such as Airbnb, said Loizou who called on parliament to pass regulatory legislation.