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Operating profits at InterContinental Hotels Group rose by $57 million in the first half of the year aided by a strong performance in the Americas region.

The world’s largest hotel company saw profit rise from $281 million to $338 million in the six months to June 30.

Chief executive Richard Solomons said: "We have delivered a good performance in the first half, with our preferred brands driving RevPAR growth of 3.7%, including 4% in the second quarter.

“Our global scale has allowed us to reinvest in the business whilst growing margins, resulting in solid underlying profit gains led by our Americas region, and strong cash flows.”

He announced a $350 million special dividend to shareholders.

“We continue to strengthen our foundation for future growth, signing more than 200 hotels into our pipeline, a notable increase on H1 2012 reflecting our owners' confidence in both IHG and the industry demand drivers,” said Solomons.

“Our high quality pipeline, broad geographic spread and fee based model give us confidence in the outlook, despite the ongoing challenging economic conditions in some of our markets."

Revenue from the Americas was up by 14% to $457 million with an operating profit up by 21% to $282 million.

The company saw revenue from hotels in Europe remaining flat year on year at $206 million, producing a 6% improvement in operating profit to $53 million.

The Holiday Inn parent company added 15,000 rooms through 108 hotels in the six months and has a further 179,000 rooms in the pipeline, with more than 40% under construction.

IHG disposed of the InterContinental London Park Lane for $166 million in the period and secured a management contract on the property for 60 years.

The company is continuing the disposal process for the InterContinental New York