Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 21 November 2003
Hilton Finds Gambling Does Pay Over Four Months
Tales Of The Riverbank
Fattal Attraction For Club Med
IHG On The Mixed Bag Trade
Rezidor SAS: Sweet Sixteen In Sweden
Sol Meliá On Its Feet At Nine Months
What's Black And White And Built All Over
EuroTulip Is Rebranding De Branding
Plenty Of Sugar For Cadbury
NH Hoteles Scores 100% At Sotogrande

Hilton Finds Gambling Does Pay Over Four Months
When the chips are down Hilton Group can usually rely on its Betting and Gaming division to see it through hard times. The four months to 31 October were no exception as the company noted that the division's strong performance was the impetus behind a 15.1% rise in group pre-tax profit for the period. Hilton's hotels, particularly those in the gateway cities of mainland Europe and those in the Nordic region, remained lost in the autumn fog of persistently difficult trading conditions. However, like-for-like RevPAR across the portfolio recovered from July's deficit of 3.6% to finish October 1.9% ahead. Whilst it searches for that elusive sustained recovery, Hilton can occupy itself with a spot of redecoration. The candidate for a £2 million refurbishment in January is the 334-room Hilton Brighton Metropole on the south coast of England. And expecting 13 hotels as his Christmas gift is Frank Fiskers, who this December will move from his position as Vice President, Sweden to become Hilton's Regional Vice President, Central London. Mr Fiskers replaces Stephen Elliott, who is taking early retirement.

Tales Of The Riverbank Return to Headlines
When it opened a few weeks ago on the north bank of the Thames in London the 460-room City Inn Westminster could proclaim itself to be the largest new-build hotel that the capital had seen in the last 30 years. That crown though will now pass to the Riverbank Park Plaza, which is due to open on the opposite bank in spring 2005. Park Plaza Hotels Europe has unveiled the plans for the 462-room, de luxe four-star property, which is the latest and to-date the most formidable hotel that the company has opened in the UK over the last three years. The Park Plaza Cardiff will also see its name inscribed on the roll of honour in 2005, with the company casting its eye too over continental Europe as it seeks out more franchising opportunities in the four-star sector. Elsewhere in London, Ramada International too is on the waterfront, the Royal Victoria Dock in this case, having opened the 224-room Ramada Hotel & Suites London Docklands.

Fattal Attraction For Club Med Return to Headlines
Fattal Hotel Management and Club Méditerranée (Club Med) have agreed to reawaken activity after an absence of more than two years at the Club Med Coral Beach. Ofer Brothers, owners of the hotel in the Israeli resort of Eilat, are to spend a reported US$8 million on renovation work, with Fattal moving in as manager when the property reopens next April. Meanwhile, passengers touching down at a new airport to be built by 2015 in the Qatari capital Doha should have no trouble finding accommodation, as two hotels form part of the project. Qatar Airways is due to start phase one of three of the construction work next year, intending that the airport shall be the first in the world with the ability to handle the Airbus 'super jumbo'. An ability to lay bricks is one of the key skills needed by those intending to compete for the contract to build a US$56 million five-star hotel in the Egyptian resort of Port Ghalib. The 350-room property is one of five being developed there by the Al-Kharafi Group; Millennium Hotels and Resorts announced in September that it had signed a deal to manage one of the properties, the 120-room Coral Beach Diving Hotel, which when it opens in mid 2004 will be the company's first hotel in Egypt.

IHG On The Mixed Bag Trade Return to Headlines
InterContinental Hotels Group's Chief Executive Richard North put his hand into the mixed bag that for his company represents trading worldwide at present and pulled out contrasting figures for the third-quarter and the nine months ending 30 September. Hotel operating profit and turnover were both up for the quarter, by 6.6% (to £81 million) and 0.5% (to £387 million), respectively, but were still lagging behind last year's comparable over the nine months. The UK Holiday Inn portfolio was commended for its good performance – RevPAR in regional properties in the third quarter was ahead 6.5% – but 'difficult' continental Europe received a caning; for example, RevPAR for the third quarter across the owned and leased InterContinental hotels in the EMEA region was 4.6% down on the previous year's comparable. The poor form of continental Europe has not though deterred IHG from introducing a new face, the 315-room Crowne Plaza Brussels Airport, to the Belgian capital's Corporate Village office development.

Rezidor SAS: Sweet Sixteen In Sweden Return to Headlines
Rezidor SAS Hospitality now has a sixteenth hotel in Sweden after it opened the 72-room Park Inn Jönköping. Across the Baltic, in Poland, Echo Investment is to build two hotels in the south of the country for Norwegian operator Qubus Hotels. The pair have signed a US$46.5 million 25-year lease agreement on the properties, one of which will rise in Cracow, and the other in Kielce. Also boasting two new, three-star, hotels is the Czech Republic's largest hotel chain, Orea Hotels. The company has taken a trip to the western city of Karlovy Vary to lease from Lazenska spolecnost Karlovy Vary the 43-room Esplanade Hotel and the 31-room Jessenius Hotel. Elsewhere, two Slovenian companies have been seized with renovation mania. Hoteli Palace has started work on a US$13.6 million makeover of the 192-room Grand Palace Hotel in Portorož, while HIT is already on a second, US$17.7 million round of work in nearby Montenegro; the 180-room Maestral Hotel in Budva is the beneficiary.

Sol Meliá On Its Feet At Nine Months Return to Headlines
The summer season smiled kindly on Sol Meliá, allowing the company to forget the dark days of April amid the thrill of seeing tourists come flocking to its Spanish resort hotels. Consequently, RevPAR in the European Resort division for the nine months to September was 3.5% ahead, at €40.2, a result which drew envious glances from the European City division, where RevPAR trailed 4.7% behind the previous year's comparable to finish on €53.2. In the aftermath of one war, Sol Meliá found itself grappling instead with the strength of the euro against the dollar. This currency effect was manifest in the 20.4% decline in RevPAR in hotels across the Americas and in a company EBITDA return 7.1% down on last year, at €179.5 million.

What's Black And White And Built All Over Return to Headlines
Premiership football side Newcastle United has made a new signing: US hotel and gaming company MGM Mirage, in partnership with whom the club hopes to build a mixed-use development, to include a hotel and casino, on land next to its St James' Park ground. On the opposite side of the country Queens Moat Houses (QMH) has agreed a £20 million transfer deal with an unnamed subsidiary of Grosvenor on the Liverpool Moat House. The 263-room property, which had a book value of £18 million as at 29 December 2002, is the subject of a compulsory purchase order by Liverpool City Council, on behalf of Grosvenor, as part of the Paradise Street redevelopment. QMH expects to complete the sale sometime between July 2004 and January 2005. Further south, on the outskirts of Birmingham, Baybridge Estates hopes to give Oldbury a lift with its plans to convert Otis House into a 68-room Days Inn.

EuroTulip Is Rebranding De Branding Return to Headlines
EuroTulip Hospitality Management (ETHM) will greet the first day of the new year with a seventh Dutch hotel in its portfolio. The 120-room Parkhotel de Branding, which is owned by Harry Bensink Beheer, will be known as the Golden Tulip Parkhotel Doorwerth from 1 January, joining four other Golden Tulip hotels and two Tulip Inn properties. Hooge Raedt Group, which owns these six properties, holds a 30% stake in ETHM, which was formed in April this year. Golden Tulip Hospitality has a 20% stake in ETHM.

Plenty Of Sugar For Cadbury Return to Headlines
Simon Matthews-Williams will be spending some £8 million transforming Cadbury House into a 35-room, de luxe four-star hotel, which will open by winter 2005. Mr Matthews-Williams acquired the property, which stands in Congresbury, North Somerset, from Wiggins for £1.7 million back in February. The town of Bodmin in Cornwall will be content with a £2.4 million 44-room Travel Inn, while Sandyford in the suburbs of Dublin, over in Ireland, is quite happy with a 239-room, de luxe four-star, boutique-style hotel. Hotelier Paul Fitzpatrick will open the €21 million property on the Beacon Court development in January 2005.

NH Hoteles Scores 100% At Sotogrande Return to Headlines
NH Hoteles has taken, courtesy of its Sotogrande subsidiary, a 100% holding in the Sotogrande Hotel after acquiring a 50% stake for an undisclosed sum from Hoteles & Gestión; the Sotogrande subsidiary already held the other 50%. The 112-room, four-star property will reopen in mid 2004 after a thorough renovation, and will be a partner on the Sotogrande residential estate for the 148-room NH Almenara Golf Hotel & Spa. Over the border in Portugal, those future visitors coming to admire the prehistoric paintings at Foz Côa will be able to discuss the artwork in the comfort of a hotel and golf resort that the government and unnamed local investors intend to establish there for a cost of a reported €50 million.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 13/11/03-20/11/03

Gresham Hotel Group - The share price soared after the company announced a takeover approach from an unnamed party.

Hilton Group - The company found favour with brokers in the wake of its trading update – Morgan Stanley raised its EPS estimate – but the market was preoccupied with renewed fears of terrorism after the Istanbul bombings.

Sol Meliá - Goldman Sachs cut its rating from 'Outperform' to 'In-line' on concerns of a weaker than expected third quarter.