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By Baeau Tai

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 2) - Steamships Trading Company’s Coral Sea Hotel Division achieved a 22.6 percent increase in profitability last year.

The division posted a K5.3 million (US$1.5 million) operating profit in 2004 compared to K4.3 million (US$1.3 million) the previous year.

STC said in its 2004 annual report that the profit increase was due to improved performances by the Gateway and Melanesian Hotels.

STC's group of eight hotels comprises Gateway Hotel and Ela Beach Hotel in Port Moresby, Melanesian Hotel and Huon Gulf Motel in Lae, Highlander Hotel in Mt. Hagen, Coastwatchers Hotel in Madang and Lamington Hotel in Popondetta.

In addition to these, the Bird of Paradise Hotel in Goroka is managed by Coral Seas Hotels on behalf of Collins & Leahy Ltd.

At the end of 2004, the hotels together provided a total of 370 rooms plus 89 serviced apartments and 12 townhouses.

"Despite a competitive market, the Gateway Hotel achieved higher than budgeted room occupancy, and for the second year in a row, ran at higher occupancy than any other major hotel in Port Moresby," said STC.

The Melanesian Hotel, Highlander Hotel and Lamington Hotel were also able top increase room occupancy over 2003.

Across the division, the average rate per room sold increased by 7 percent over 2003.

"This was despite heavy discounting by competitors in Port Moresby, Lae and Madang," said STC.

In June 2004, the Division purchased the Ela Beach Hotel and renovations to the property commenced soon after.

A complete facelift this year will include three new conference rooms on the ground floor.

The poolside area was refurbished towards the end of the year and, together with the Beachside Brasserie Restaurant, which is operated under a franchise arrangement, this space is now one of the most popular dining and social locations in Port Moresby.

The company's other plans for 2005 include the building of additional ten apartments at the Gateway Hotel, and a block of five apartments at the Highlander Hotel, plus other remodeling and upgrading works as required.

June 3, 2005

The National:


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