MWB Group’s shares rose 10% this morning following a better-than-expected trading update for its three businesses.
The group, headed by Richard Balfour-Lynn, said that 2008 cash-flow in its hotel division, the Malmaison and Hotel du Vin chains, the largest part of its business, was ahead of 2007 levels.
It also managed to maintain an overall occupancy level of 79% and a room rate of £115.
The group also said that Business Exchange, the AIM-listed serviced office provider in which it has a 68% stake, had experienced strong trading in the first half of the year with a slow down in the last six months.
Despite the slowdown, it maintained an occupancy level of 90% throughout the year.
Business Exchange, which operates 56 centres across the UK, opened one new centre during in 2008 at St Clements House in the City.
It said that it is now exploring a number of Operating and Management Agreement opportunities that would enable the company to open new centres with ‘little risk and minimal capital’.
The group reported that, following a tough November, December sales at the AIM-listed Liberty department store were only slightly down on last year’s record Christmas.
MWB said that sales for the first 10 months of the year at the Regent Street store had been ‘ahead of comparative trading levels’.
It attributed the strong trading to a stock clear out before renovation work, and the launch of its e-commerce business which exceeded growth expectations.
However, it said that sales at its Liberty of London luxury brand store in Sloane Street have been ‘slower than anticipated’.