Accor expects full-year operating profits to remain at 2012 levels as the French hotel group continues to tackle what it described as “a complex environment”.

Europe’s largest hotelier by rooms said full-year earnings before interest and tax would be between €510m and €530m, slightly below analysts’ expectations.

In a research note on Wednesday, Citi called the guidance “weak”, adding that it expected consensus forecasts to fall slightly on the announcement.

The company’s shares fell 3.1 per cent to €27.90 in early Paris trading on Wednesday.

Accor, which this week appointed Sébastien Bazin from private equity group Colony Capital as its chairman and chief executive, has been particularly exposed to the sharp downturn in Europe, which accounts for more than 70 per cent of sales.

California-based Colony, which holds an 11 per cent stake in the hotelier, has urged the company to deepen its so-called asset light strategy of selling real estate in order to concentrate more on hotel management.

The group’s principal competitors have employed the asset-light model to return cash to shareholders but also expand into faster-growing emerging markets.

Mr Bazin’s appointment is expected to bring an acceleration of the strategy at Accor in the coming months.

The group opened 9,940 new rooms in the first six months of the year, 80 per cent of which were under management contracts and franchise agreements.

On Wednesday, Accor, whose brands include the high-end Sofitel chain and its economy range of Ibis hotels, said operating profits in the first six months of this year were €198m.

That was 6.4 per cent lower than during the same period last year on a like-for-like basis, and below the consensus forecasts of €210m. Net profit for the first six months was €34m compared with a net loss during the same period of 2012 of €532m – thanks to the disposal of the group’s Motel 6 chain in the US.

Accor said most of the impact of a €100m cost-savings plan announced in February would be felt in the second half of the year. It added that a three-year expansion plan was “well on track”, with 117,700 rooms in the pipeline as of June. Of those, 84 per cent were under management and franchise contracts – with half of them in the Asia-Pacific region.

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