Revenue increased nine per cent to $1.8 billion, with operating profit before exceptional items of $559 million, up 26 per cent. Adjusted earnings per share increased 32 per cent from 98.6 cents to 130.4 cents.
The Board is recommending an 11 per cent increase to the final dividend for 2011, taking it to 39.0 cents. This will give a full-year dividend of 55.0 cents per share, 15 per cent higher than 2010. This converts to a sterling full-year dividend of 34.5 pence, up 15 per cent compared with 2010. Subject to shareholder approval, the final dividend will be paid on 1 June 2012.
On 30 June 2011 Andy Cosslett stepped down from his role as Chief Executive of IHG. We were very sorry to see Andy leave and I would like to thank him for his outstanding leadership during his six-year tenure. Richard Solomons was appointed Chief Executive on 1 July 2011. Formerly Chief Financial Officer and Head of Commercial Development, Richard has been a member of the Board since IHG listed as an independent company in 2003. He has a proven track record as a business leader and a deep understanding of IHG drawn from his time in a number of senior roles and he has impressed me greatly in his first six months as Chief Executive.
Taking over from Richard as Chief Financial Officer is Tom Singer, who joined us on 26 September 2011 from global healthcare group Bupa, where he had been Group Finance Director since 2008. His broad commercial and international experience makes him an ideal addition to the team, and I am pleased to welcome him to the Board as an Executive Director.
On 13 June 2011, Jim Abrahamson, President, The Americas and an Executive Director of IHG since 1 August 2010, left the Company to take up a role as the CEO of an independent US lodging company. He was succeeded by Kirk Kinsell, who has held a number of senior leadership positions at IHG, including President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and has been an Executive Director since 1 August 2010.
I am pleased to welcome three additional new Board members to IHG. Tracy Robbins was promoted to Executive Director on 9 August 2011 having been an Executive Committee member since joining IHG in December 2005. She retains her responsibility for global talent management, leadership development, employee reward and group operations support. This appointment recognises both Tracy’s exceptional capabilities and the critical importance of attracting, developing and retaining top talent as we implement our ambitious expansion plans.
We made two Non-Executive Director appointments during the year. Dale Morrison, formerly President and CEO of McCain Foods Limited, joined the Board on 1 June 2011 and on 1 July 2011 Luke Mayhew joined as Chairman of the Remuneration Committee, a role he has fulfilled at Brambles Limited since 2005. He replaces Ralph Kugler who has retired from the Board after over eight years at IHG. I would like to welcome both Dale and Luke to the Board and thank Ralph for his highly valuable contribution to the Board and in particular his exemplary chairmanship of the Remuneration Committee.
Financial position and shareholder returns
Careful control over cash has enabled us to reduce our overall net debt position by $205 million to $538 million. In November 2011 we refinanced our bank debt, putting in place a five-year $1.07 billion facility, providing certainty over funding until November 2016. No returns above normal dividends were made to shareholders in 2011. Total funds returned since March 2004 amount to more than $6 billion.
The hard work of our people is central to IHG’s success. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank everyone in IHG for their focus, dedication and commitment during the year.
2012 is likely to be a year dominated by economic and political uncertainty in several geographies. IHG has a business model which has proven to be resilient, a wide geographic spread and a strong balance sheet. This means we are confident in our ability to continue to deliver strong results.