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It’s a unique business strategy, but Sonesta International Hotels is citing the hurricane that devastated Anguilla last November as a key factor in the firm’s drop-off in net income for the first six months of 2000. Closed until mid-February, Sonesta Beach Resort Anguilla suffered an operating loss of $1.13 million, compared to operating income of $34,000 for the same period in 1999.

Overall, the company reported this week that net income fell from $5.31 million to $3.77 million for the first six months of the year. Revenues were up, however, from $53 million in the first half of 1999 to $56.9 million this year. Operating income also improved, from $6.5 million in 1999 to $7.69 million this year.

Helping to offset the difficulties in Anguilla was a solid showing by the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. Aided by one of the strongest hotel markets in the country, the 400-room inn saw a 16% increase in revenues to $15 million, as well as a 19% hike in revenues per available room. Operating income was up from $1.8 million in 1999 to $3.11 million at the mid-year mark of 2000. The firm did have a $274,000 extraordinary expense for the first half of the year, a charge connected to the refinancing of the mortgage loans at the Cambridge and Key Biscayne, FL hotels. The refinancing yielded $27 million in net proceeds.

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