Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 14 November 2003
Italy From Hip To Toe
Jurys Out But Inns Are In
Alpha Finds Greenbacks For Yellow Hotel
Odds-On Thriller In Hungary
Wind Slows Orient-Express
Pandox Board Stiffen Their Resolve
Prince To The Rescue Of Le Meridien?
Crescent-Shaped Jewel Of Dubai
Cotter Pins On New Starwood Badge
Ramada Scores It Sweden 3 Italy 1
Impress The Family: Do The Splits

Italy From Hip To Toe
A second Le Meridien hotel has rolled off the production line at the former Fiat factory in Turin. The 142-room Le Meridien Lingotto Art + Tech will park alongside the 240-room Le Meridien Lingotto hotel. Le Meridien's Art + Tech design concept is on display too across the border in Austria, which has welcomed the 294-room Le Meridien Vienna. Back at the toe-end of Italy, Kempinski Hotels & Resorts is looking forward to springtime in Sicily and the prospect of its first hotel on Italian soil. The company has signed a management contract with Mediterranea Spa on the Kempinski Giardino di Costanza Grand Hotel & Spa in Mazara del Vallo. Rocco Forte Hotels, meanwhile, is keeping its fingers crossed that Sviluppo Italia and the Ministry of Productive Activities will be successful in their efforts to secure a grant of €35 million. If they are, then the threesome will start work next year on Sicily's southern coast on the €124 million 200-room Verdura Golf and Spa Resort, which is due to open in 2007.

Jurys Out But Inns Are In Return to Headlines
Jurys Doyle Hotel Group has reportedly found at least four parties interested in paying up to €16 million for the 136-room, three-star Jurys Glasgow Hotel after it apparently concluded that a sale was preferable to raising the property to four-star status. Jurys though will still have a presence in the city in the shape of the recently opened 321-room Jurys Inn Glasgow. One three-star hotel in Scotland already aware of its new destiny is the 57-room Park Hotel in Montrose, which will now rub shoulders with the likes of the Swallow hotel portfolio after London and Edinburgh Inns paid RGIT Montrose close to a reported £1.7 million for its latest addition. In northwest England, meanwhile, a 92-room Express by Holiday Inn is about to be paraded at Chester Racecourse: an early showing in the multimillion pound redevelopment scheme there that may also include a five-star hotel. Nearing the finish line on its £7 million renovation is the 1,058-room Hilton London Metropole, which has absorbed a total of £107 million in refurbishment money in the four years Hilton has been in charge. Champing at the bit across in Ireland are those who may be interested in acquiring the privately owned 21-room Curragh Lodge Hotel in Kildare, which will go under the hammer on 27 November with a guide price of a reported €2.5 million.

Alpha Baumanagement Finds Greenbacks For Yellow Hotel Return to Headlines
Austria's Alpha Baumanagement is the new owner of the Holiday Inn Sarajevo after the authorities in the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina accepted a cheque for a reported US$26.3 million. The 338-room hotel, which went on the market this summer, will find its distinctive yellow walls facing out onto a convention centre complex that the Austrian company wants to build at an estimated cost of US$70 million. The complex will be named the Grand Media Hotel and Convention Center Sarajevo. The Croatian capital Zagreb too has cause for celebration after Rezidor SAS Hospitality selected the city to take Europe's first Regent-branded property: the 207-room The Regent Esplanade Hotel, which is due to open in January after renovation work is complete. And renovation is fresh in the memory of another of Zagreb's hotels: the 41-room Tomislavov Dom, which has emerged from a year of work costing US$3.2 million.

Odds-On Thriller In Hungary Return to Headlines
Michael Jackson's father Joe could be among a group of businessmen from the USA, Hungary and Austria prepared to invest US$1.5 billion in the construction of Euro Vegas, a complex of casinos and hotels near the northwestern Hungarian border town of Hegyeshalom. Stepping out in the Russian city of Nizhni Novgorod is Rosbank, which hopes to sign a deal with the city authorities by the end of the year on a US$20 million four-star hotel complex that will replace the existing Moskva Hotel. And no doubt dancing with joy are the group of unnamed US businessmen who have succeeded in their recently initiated quest to become majority stakeholders in three hotels on the Ineks Drim complex in Struga, southwest Macedonia. The men, all of Macedonian extraction, paid an undisclosed sum for properties including the Hotel Drim, Hotel Beograd and the As Motel.

Wind Slows Orient-Express Return to Headlines
Orient-Express Hotels blamed Hurricane Isabel for blowing a hole in its third-quarter net earnings, which fell 9.9% on the previous year's comparable to US$8.2 million. Worldwide RevPAR was unruffled, rising 8.2% to US$210, but although revenue appeared to have ridden out September's storm – rising 9.6% to finish on US$91.1 million – company President Simon Sherwood admitted that much of the increase was exchange-rate related. Two rays of sunshine pierce the gloom, however. Construction work has resumed on the Hotel Caruso in the Italian town of Ravello, allowing an opening date of spring 2005 to be set, and the company has announced that it hopes to acquire a group of unique hotel properties by the end of the year. Orient-Express's hectic early November timetable also includes a proposition to sell 3 million common shares, with the money raised to be spent on further acquisition and building work. One property that will not share in the booty is the 141-room Hotel Quinta do Lago in Portugal, which Orient-Express has sold to an unnamed buyer for US$40 million.

Pandox Board Stiffen Their Resolve Return to Headlines
Last week's move by Norwegian property company Eiendomsspar and its joint venture partner Sundt to take a 35.9% stake in Pandox has prompted their intended takeover target to issue a retaliatory statement. In it, Pandox noted that its earlier prediction of full year pre-tax income of more than €21.7 million had been revised to €22.3 million, and said that it would be reviewing an internal evaluation of its hotel portfolio. Pandox's board feels that the results of the evaluation process will show that Eiendomsspar's and Sundt's offer of €11.7 per share is too low.

Prince To The Rescue Of Le Meridien? Return to Headlines
One of the seven projects which billionaire Saudi businessman Prince Al-Walid bin Talal is reportedly involved in at present is the rescue of Le Meridien. A Kuwaiti newspaper noted that the prince was working on the plan in partnership with Canada's Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. The fate of Le Meridien is of interest to many parties; The Sunday Times added the name of Marriott International to the mix, stating that the Royal Bank of Scotland, the custodian of 11 hotels in the Le Meridien portfolio, was to grant Marriott the right to manage the Le Meridien Grosvenor House on London's Park Lane. Last week The Financial Times suggested that Hilton was poised to take the reins at another London property: the 303-room Le Meridien Waldorf.

Crescent-Shaped Jewel Of Dubai Return to Headlines
Work is due to start next month at the Dubai Festival City development on The Crescent, the so-called 'crown jewel' of the entire project. Among the many attractions in this mixed-use entertainment and retail centre, of which the retail component alone is destined to cover some 110,000 m², is a 400-room hotel. This hotel might well find itself a rival in the Bani Yas Palace; Reto Wittwer, the President and Chief Executive of Kempinski Hotels & Resorts is claiming the title of 'most luxurious hotel ever built in the world' for the 390-room property, which will open in the emirate of Abu Dhabi in time for the GCC summit in late 2004.

Cotter Pins On New Starwood Badge Return to Headlines
Hotel veteran Robert F. Cotter will add the title of President to the nameplate on his office door at Starwood Hotels & Resorts to complement the existing title of Chief Operating Officer. Mr Cotter retains his responsibility for Starwood's hotel and time-share operations. Sitting on the selection panel was company Chairman and Chief Executive Barry S. Sternlicht, who announced last month that he would be taking the role of Executive Chairman once a new Chief Executive was appointed in his stead. Rocco Forte Hotels will also undergo a staffing change this Christmas when David Pantin departs as the Managing Director of the UK and Russia. His role will be divided between Moreno Occhiolini, who will become Managing Director for London and mainland Europe, and Richard Power, who will become the Managing Director of operations and brand marketing in the UK.

Ramada Scores It Sweden 3 Italy 1 Return to Headlines
Ramada International has called in on Sweden and opened three new hotels, taking its total portfolio in the country to 29. The new arrivals are the 76-room Ramada Hotel Teaterparken in Växjö, the 97-room Ramada Hotel Vävaren in Borås and the 61-room Ramada Hotel Norra Vättern in Askersund. Ramada has also added a fourth hotel to its Italian collection with the opening of the 60-room Ramada Rimini Villa Rosa in the resort of Rimini on Italy's northeastern coast.

Impress The Family: Do The Splits Return to Headlines
Hotel group LHM is reported to be dividing in two in order to allow its Alias Hotels chain room for expansion. This will mean that the Luxury Family hotels will move aside into their own company to give Alias Hotels the chance to grow from its present total of four UK properties. Four is also the number of hotels that Luxury Family Hotels will manage, with LHM operating the Alias hotels. Reports suggest that LHM's Chairman and joint Managing Director Nicholas Dickinson is seeking a Managing Director to take control of the Alias Hotels business, one which may change its name to simply Alias.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 06/11/03-13/11/03

Pandox - An upwards revision in full year pre-tax income produced a small rise in the share price.

Hilton Group - Morgan Stanley retains its 'Equal-weight' rating ahead of next week's trading update. Gerrard has an 'Outperform' rating on the stock.

InterContinental Hotels Group - Morgan Stanley has an 'Underweight' rating, advising that the timing and scale of any hotel disposals may cause frustration.