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Millennium & Copthorne lifts annual profit 11%, on the back of CDL gains

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand, one of New Zealand's largest hotel operators, has lifted annual profit 11 percent and its dividend after the property development business it controls, CDL Investments, reported its best earnings in seven years.

Profit rose to $35.6 million in the year ended Dec. 31, from $32.2 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based hotel chain said in a statement. Revenue climbed 9.2 percent to $130 million.

Earlier today, CDL, the land development company Millennium has a controlling stake in, posted an annual profit increased 9.7 percent to $14.7 million on a jump in sales of sections, which the company said was a key contributor to the hotel chain's lift in profit. It's core hotel business increased sales 6.6 percent to $83.1 million in the year, while occupancy rates also increased to 73.7 percent from 67.7 percent a year earlier.

The company doubled its fully imputed annual dividend to 2.4 cents per share, from 1.2 cents a year earlier.

Millennium has 24 hotels across New Zealand trading under the Millennium, Copthorne and Kingsgate brands. Last year it gained Overseas Investment Office approval for a $14.25 million deal for the remaining 30 per cent interest in Quantum, its main hotel operating subsidiary, that it didn't already own.

"New Zealand's economic indicators are pointing to growth over the next few years," chairman Wong Hang Ren said. "MCK must therefore ensure that it can take full advantage of increased tourism and business activity in all areas of its operations."

Shares of the company rose 1.5 percent to $1.36 and have gained 3.1 percent since the start of the year. CDL shares rose 8.3 percent to 65 cents, its highest level since 1987.