Hotel shares fell after U.K. voters decided in a referendum to leave the European Union, raising concern about future employment costs in the British lodging industry, which relies on workers from outside the country.
“It is too early to know what the potential impact the decision will ultimately have on our business,” Marriott International Inc. said in a statement Friday. “As the implications are more clearly defined over the coming months, we will work to adapt to any changes that may result.”
Marriott, which is poised to become the world’s largest hotel operator when its acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. is completed next quarter, fell 5.3 percent to $65.32 at 1:17 p.m. in New York. It was the biggest intraday decline since April 1. Starwood declined 3.9 percent to $72.96. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. was down 5.4 percent to $22.17, and the Bloomberg Hotel Real Estate Investment Trust Index dropped 4.4 percent.
Lodging companies such as InterContinental Hotels Group Plc and retailers including J Sainsbury Plc are heavily dependent on European employees, with almost three-quarters of workers in London’s hospitality sector being foreign-born. While the Brexit could ultimately lead to higher labor costs, InterContinental — which has about 5 percent of its business is in the U.K., and about 10 percent in Europe — may also benefit from an increase in U.K. tourism if the pound continues to decline against the euro.
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