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Covid-19 pandemic pushed India’s Taj Hotel chain to look to cut costs

ByBloomberg | Posted by Kanishka Sarkar
Nov 25, 2020 03:56 PM IST

“This was the historic opportunity to review our fixed and variable costs,” Chief Executive Officer Puneet Chhatwal said Wednesday.

Indian Hotels Co., the luxury hotel chain run by the Tata Group, used the coronavirus-imposed lockdown to see where it could save costs.

“This was the historic opportunity to review our fixed and variable costs,” Chief Executive Officer Puneet Chhatwal said Wednesday in a Bloomberg Television interview. “The industry never experienced such a revenue decline in last 100 years.”

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The firm, which owns the iconic Taj brand and operates The Pierre in New York City, didn’t cut any jobs but redeployed some staff elsewhere in the salt-to-software Tata empire, Chhatwal said. The company slumped to a 3.8 billion rupee ($51 million) loss in the six months ended Sept. 30 from a 1.4 billion rupee profit a year earlier, as a 73% plunge in revenue eclipsed 36% cost savings.

Its shares have rebounded 82% from a six-year low in May as India’s economy gradually reopens. Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a strict and sudden lockdown in March to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

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