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Thai hotelier Erawan says sees no Mers impact on 2015 growth

[BANGKOK] Thai hotelier Erawan Group sought to reassure investors on Tuesday by keeping its annual 35 per cent revenue growth target intact after its shares fell to six-month lows in previous sessions over worries about the impact of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers).

Erawan is Thailand's second largest hotel group by market value. On Friday, its shares and those of other hoteliers and aviation firms fell sharply after the first Mers case was confirmed in Thailand, heightening investors concerns about a tourism sector already under the cloud of an international aviation agency's safety rating downgrade.

Erawan Chief Financial Officer Kanyarat Krisnathevin told Reuters there has been no cancellation for room booking so far and the group expects its occupancy rate to rise to 77 per cent this year due to an increase in foreign tourists. "I'm confident that we will achieve the revenue and occupancy targets," she said.

Even though some analysts have said there would be little impact from Mers on the Thai hotel sector as long as the disease is contained, brokerages including Asia Plus Securities have urged their clients to cut exposure to hoteliers such as Erawan.

The stock had hit a six-month low on Friday, and was unchanged on Monday. On Tuesday, it inched up 0.47 per cent compared to 0.28 per cent gain in the broader market.

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