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AccorHotels cuts upper end of profit goal, says France, Belgium hit in Q3

PARIS Oct 18 AccorHotels, Europe's top hotels group, cut back the upper end of its 2016 profit target rantge after French and Belgian operations were hit by security fears in the third quarter.

The world's fifth-largest hotel group said these two countries remained a major point of vigilance for the group even though it achieved robust growth in most of its key markets.

AccorHotels, undergoing an overhaul begun by Chief Executive Sebastien Bazin in 2013, said it was now forecasting a 2016 operating profit of between 670 million and 690 million euros.

This compared with a previous range of 670 million euros and 720 million euros for 2016 and against 665 million euros in 2015.

Third quarter sales rose 1.8 percent to 1.538 billion euros ($1.69 billion)like-for-like, a slight deceleration from 2 percent growth in the second quarter.

The French business, which makes 30 percent of group sales, was hurt by safety fears following Islamist attacks in Europe, with sales in the country down 4.7 percent in July-September.

($1 = 0.9097 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon)

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