Raymond Bickson, MD & CEO, Indian Hotels Company Limited, has thirty years experience in hospitality. In January 2003, Mr. Bickson moved to India and joined the Board as Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer of Taj Luxury Hotels, overseeing the operations of all luxury properties and playing a key role in the global expansion and development of future hotels. He assumed the role as Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of The Indian Hotels Company Limited in July 2003. Bickson brings extensive international hotel experience to the Taj Group in operations and management. He most recently served fifteen years as the Vice President & General Manager of The Mark in New York for The Rafael Group Hoteliers Monaco and with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. His career includes a variety of management assignments for over ten years with Regent International Hotels in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Puerto Rico, Melbourne and Shanghai, as well as training at some of the world's most renowned hotels as the Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris, Le Montreux Palace Switzerland and the Kahala Hilton Hawaii.
The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) and its subsidiaries are collectively known as Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces and is recognised as one of Asia's largest and finest hotel company. Incorporated by the founder of the Tata Group, Mr. Jamsetji N. Tata, the company opened its first property, The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Bombay in 1903. The Taj, a symbol of Indian hospitality, completed its centenary year in 2003. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces comprises 93 hotels in 55 locations across India with an additional 16 international hotels in the Maldives, Malaysia, Australia, UK, USA, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East.
Yash Ved of IIFL gives you highlights from a media interaction where Raymond Bickson says “We are planning 13 new hotels and 1521 rooms in 2013-14.”
What is your outlook on the hotel sector?
The sector continues to face pressure on demand due to the current economic environment, which in turn had kept the room rates subdued below desired levels which is essentially an offseason period.
The company expects to open Vivanta by Taj Gurgoan as also its first prototype the Gateway Hotel at Kolkata later in the year.
How was the quarter as a whole?
There has been overall a 23% increase in supply in H1 compared to last year.The demand -supply mismatch has put pressure on occupancies.
Demand growth has been at moderate at 20% in summers and expected to pick up in H2 and winters.
What are your plans for 2013-14?
Till now, the company has opened 5 hotels and 509 rooms in 2012-13.
The company is planning to develop 13 new hotels and 1521 rooms in 2013-14.
Brief us about your financials?
The company has posted net loss of Rs. (908.50) mn for the half ended September 30, 2012 as compared to net loss Rs. (703.30) mn for the half ended September 30, 2011.
Total Income has increased from Rs. 14953.10 mn for the half ended September 30, 2011 to Rs. 17014.00 mn for the half ended September 30, 2012.
What is your current debt?
Our current debt stands at Rs38bn.