Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 5 December 2003
Waldorf And Hilton; Marriott The Guv'nor At The Grosvenor
Six Hotels A-Selling At Hanover International
Happy Blue Year For Starwood
Plenty Of Cheer From De Vere
Hearn Yearns For Travelodge To Travel
Arbor Lights On Center Parcs
The Same Number of Beans Buys One Carat
IFA's Span Stretches Out To South Africa
Celebrate These Sales With Whisky And A Chunk Of Mint Cake
Five Hang With Jordan
Double Park Inn Delight For Rezidor SAS

Waldorf And Hilton; Marriott The Guv'nor At The Grosvenor
Hilton International has answered the press speculation of recent weeks by confirming that it is indeed to manage the Le Meridien Waldorf in London. The 303-room property, which will become known as The Waldorf Hilton, is one of 11 UK hotels in the care of the Royal Bank of Scotland, with whom Hilton has signed an innovative profit-linked lease agreement. The property is nearing the end of a £25 million refurbishment programme, and Le Meridien's management contract draws to a close on 31 January 2004. The press can be doubly proud of their foresight as Marriott International confirmed rumours that it will be operating two of the 11 properties on a long-term lease from 31 January 2004. Le Meridien Grosvenor House in London will become a 498-room JW Marriott and the Le Meridien Shelbourne in Dublin a 276-room Renaissance hotel.

Six Hotels A-Selling At Hanover International Return to Headlines
Entrepreneur Jack Petchey knows what he will be giving this Christmas: six hotels from the Hanover International portfolio. The properties on offer range in size from the 156-room Hanover International Hotel & Club Cardiff to the 30-room Hanover International Conference & Training Centre in Keynsham, near Bristol. The six hotels are reportedly valued at somewhere between £27 million and £28 million in total. Mr Petchey completed the takeover of Hanover International through his Trefick investment vehicle earlier this year, and by October the press was already reporting that Petchey was dividing up the hotel assets in preparation for a sale.

Happy Blue Year For Starwood Return to Headlines
Reports suggest that the privately owned Blue Palace Resort & Spa will be the fourth Greek hotel to enter Starwood Hotels & Resorts' Luxury Collection. The property, near Elounda on the island of Crete, is set to join up next year. Also new to Starwood is Vasant M. Prabhu, who has been appointed as the company's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Prabhu, who held an identically titled role at food retailer Safeway, replaces Ron Brown, who becomes Starwood's Executive Vice President of Strategy.

Plenty Of Cheer From De Vere Return to Headlines
The difficult trading conditions over its financial year to 28 September proved no impediment to De Vere Group, which came through to post a 5.3% rise in pre-tax profit, to £39.7 million, and a 6.2% increase in group turnover, to £312.2 million. Small events were beautiful events in the eyes of the 21 De Vere Hotels, as strengthening demand for such gatherings during the second half of the year saw turnover for the full year climb 3.0% to £183.2 million. A 2.8% increase in average room rate to £82.59 gave RevPAR of £61. The Village Hotels & Leisure Clubs are rewarded for their contribution of an 11.8% increase in turnover, to £71.8 million, with their company's full attention when it comes to further expansion. The 14-strong portfolio of Village Hotels will be swollen by the addition next year of properties in Maidstone and Walsall and then the following year Bournemouth and Birmingham become fresh destinations.

Hearn Yearns For Travelodge To Travel Return to Headlines
Being the second-biggest budget chain in the UK is all well and good, but Travelodge has long sought to broaden its horizons: see a bit of continental Europe, perhaps. Compass Group, the chain's previous owner, sensed this urge and thought that Spain would be nice. Consequently, two sites are under development in Madrid and the cities of Barcelona, Bilbao and Málaga are said to be waiting only for the word to go. Now Travelodge is under Permira's ownership the plans remain as firm as ever, with the chain's Chief Executive Grant Hearn informing The Times that expansion in Spain will continue. Ireland has been added to the Travelodge itinerary but Hearn will make no further commitment here until his chain has found the right partner: strong and Irish, preferably. A potential partner will need to be strong should Travelodge decide to sell its properties in Ireland and ask the partner to be the master franchiser of the brand in the country. Travelodge may be away campaigning but it has not forgotten the home front. It plans to open another 1,500 rooms in the UK next year as it looks to topple Travel Inn from the perch and reclaim the coveted number one spot in the budget market. And Travelodge would have no time for breakfast in this pursuit; the Independent newspaper suggests that the Little Chef restaurants could be spun off in the long term.

Arbor Lights On Center Parcs Return to Headlines
A future afloat awaits Center Parcs UK after MidOcean Partners did as the press was expecting and sold the holiday village operator to Arbor, a company formed specially for the occasion, for a reported £285 million. Upon completion of the sale Arbor will rename itself Center Parcs (UK) Group and expects to begin dealing shares in its new purchase on London's Alternative Investment Market from 11 December. Arbor's money bought it four holiday villages in England.

The Same Number of Beans Buys One Carat Return to Headlines
In the summer of 1993 Ryan Hotels struck a I£6.7 million sale and leaseback deal with ACC Bank on the Carat Hotel in Hamburg, Germany. Ten years on and the hotelier now known as Gresham Hotel Group has exercised its prerogative as part of the original deal and repurchased the 90-room property for the 1993 transaction price, which translates into today's money as €8.5 million. A further connection with the past is that the nest egg now cracked open to pay for the hotel was laid down with the initial proceeds from the deal.

IFA's Span Stretches Out To South Africa Return to Headlines
Kuwait's International Financial Advisors (IFA) has chosen South Africa as the location for its latest investment: US$10 million for a 50% stake in the Zimbali Coastal Resort near the city of Durban. IFA has also formed a joint venture with local company Moreland Developments that will invest US$100 million over the next ten years in the expansion of the resort to include a 300-room, five-star hotel courtesy of IFA's subsidiary IFA Hotels & Resorts. That subsidiary has developed a taste for the region in recent months: in October it signed a US$50 million deal to develop a tourist resort on the island of Zanzibar. It is to the northernmost reaches of the African continent though that Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts is looking; the Singaporean company wants to branch out into the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

Celebrate These Sales With Whisky And A Chunk Of Mint Cake Return to Headlines
It already operates the Quality Hotel Edinburgh Airport and now Chardon Group owns the property too after it paid the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland an undisclosed sum for the 95-room hotel. South of the border Castle Green (Kendal), owners of the 100-room Castle Green Hotel in Kendal in the Lake District, now have a second property in their portfolio thanks to a little financial help from Barclays Bank. The company paid an undisclosed sum for the 85-room Princess Hotel in Manchester. Across in Derbyshire, The Peveril of the Peak Hotel is settling in its second set of private owners within the space of a year. The 46-room hotel near Ashbourne was sold for an undisclosed sum off an asking price of £1.75 million. Macdonald Hotels, a former owner of that hotel, is now putting its efforts into developing a luxury hotel at the Hill Valley Golf Club at Whitchurch in Shropshire. The company will tee off this February with a £7 million plan to add 80 rooms to the existing 22 at the clubhouse and build a leisure club and spa.

Five Hang With Jordan Return to Headlines
In August this year the Andre Jordan Group asked investment bank UBS to advise it on its strategic options on its two leisure resorts in Portugal: Vilamoura in the Algarve and the Belas Clube de Campo near Lisbon. As a result five lucky candidates from both Portugal and beyond have progressed to a due diligence stage, the results of which will be known by next February. Vilamoura, Europe's largest leisure resort complex, boasts five championship golf courses and is due to see two five-star hotels rise within its realm.

Double Park Inn Delight For Rezidor SAS Return to Headlines
Rezidor SAS Hospitality has favoured Denmark and Norway in the latest round of openings to feature the Park Inn brand. The Radisson SAS Globetrotter has started a new life as the 197-room Park Inn Copenhagen Airport. A debut for the brand in Denmark and so too in Norway, which has welcomed the 208-room Park Inn Stavanger.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 27/11/03-04/12/03

Hilton Group - The share price responded warmly to good news on the US economy.

De Vere Group - De Vere's strong full year results persuaded CSFB to raise its target price.

Whitbread - Oriel Securities commented on the good value of Whitbread's shares, saying that the company was on course to meet expectations.