MWB Group, which operates the Hotel du Vin and Malmaison brands, saw its pre-tax losses widen in the 18 months to the end of June, from £14.2m to £29.2m, during what the company described as “challenging trading conditions”. The company said that the increase in losses was due to £10.9m of goodwill impairments and £4.6m of transaction costs, in part relating to a £27.5m share placing. Group revenues from continuing operations increased slightly to £329.9m, while turnover across it hotel business rose from £112.4m to £165.2m and operating profits stood at £37.7m. Occupancy levels across both Malmaison and Hotel du Vin fell slightly from 79% to 77%, while average room rate increased from £102.62 to £104.94 during the 18 months. Eric Sanderson, chairman, said: "While the general economy and the financial markets have entered uncharted territory challenging all participants' ability to forecast reliably, we continue to believe that the group's underlying strategy is the right one, namely that we are positioning our remaining businesses in line with our stated exit plans." Earlier this month, Robert Cook announced he was to stand down as chief executive of the group’s hotel business of, to “pursue other interests” in the hospitality sector. Last month MWB Group refinanced a £285.5m debt facility against its Malmaison and Hotel du Vin business which, together with the £100m net proceeds from the five sales and leasebacks the company previously announced, enabled MWB to reduce Malmaison’s debt to £180m.