Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 7 November 2003
‘X’ Marks The Spot For New London Hotel
Accor Sales For Nine Months: Sights The Promised Land
Pandox Spends Its Kronor On The Crowne
Hilton Lands Catch In Canary Wharf
Happy Christmas (Worst Is Over)
Mövenpick Moves In And Picks Fourth Hotel In Arabia
There Are Tulips At The End Of The Rainbow
Strathmore Takes The High Road, Radisson SAS The Low Road
Anker Weighs In With The Cash In Gothenburg
Unhappy Ending For Limerick Ryan
Queens’ Latest Proclamation
News From Moscow And Eastern Europe

‘X’ Marks The Spot For New London Hotel
An office in the Clerkenwell district of London once occupied by football pools provider Zetters is to be transformed into a 59-room lifestyle hotel, according to a report in The Times. Mark Sainsbury and restaurateur Michael Benyan will open The Zetter, which is part of the Urban Hotels group, next March. There is another restaurateur with a taste for hotels, and his name is Michael Caines. He and business partner Andrew Brownsword are to extensively refurbish the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter, the 56-room, three-star property they acquired from Corus & Regal Hotels for more than £4.5 million late last month. No doubt familiar with the history of decoration through the ages is England’s oldest inn, The Royalist Hotel in Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire. The privately owned 12-room property is on the market with an asking price of a reported £1.85 million.

Accor Sales For Nine Months: Sights The Promised Land Return to Headlines
Accor remains on course to fulfil its expectation of full year pre-tax profit of some €500 million after maintaining a steady ship over the first nine months of 2003. Total like-for-like revenue slipped 0.2% to €5.1 billion, to which total the hotels contributed €3.6 billion, a like-for-like decline of 1.4%. Accor was particularly pleased by the revenue returned in the third quarter by its upscale and midscale hotels in the UK and the USA, which posted rises of 3.0% and 4.3%, respectively. In addition to its results, Accor announced the completion of a deal struck in June that sees Orbis take ownership of eight Ibis and two Novotel hotels in Poland and a Novotel due to open next year in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. In return for an outlay of €89 million, Orbis assumes operation of the hotels, which total 1,677 rooms, under franchise and secures the right to manage the 249-room Mercure Frederick Chopin in Warsaw. Orbis is also to adorn around ten more of its own hotels with Accor brands in the coming months.

Pandox Spends Its Kronor On The Crowne Return to Headlines
Swedish hotel investment company Pandox has flexed its financial muscles in Brussels by agreeing to pay NH Hoteles €31.8 million for the 356-room Crowne Plaza Hotel. When the deal completes on 29 December, NH Hoteles will realise a capital gain of €1.6 million on the property, on which Pandox will spend, for operational purposes and renovation, an estimated €8.3 million over the next two to three years. While Pandox was out shopping the Scandinavian press spotted Norwegian property company Eiendomsspar and its joint venture partner Sundt call in on Pandox and come away with a 36% stake for a reported €6.3 million; the pair are now obliged to make an offer for the remaining shares.

Hilton Lands Catch In Canary Wharf Return to Headlines
Hilton has agreed to operate a new £40 million hotel that will open at Capital & Provident Group’s Discovery Dock development in London Docklands in early 2006. That same year the 272-room, four-star Hilton London Canary Wharf might look northwestwards across the city and see a 400-room, five-star Hilton hotel at the new Wembley Stadium; the Observer newspaper reports that the company is talking to Quintain Estates, which is masterminding the redevelopment work. And Hilton’s interest in London, it seems, does not end there. The Financial Times reports that the company has struck a deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland to assume operational control of the 303-room Le Meridien Waldorf.

Happy Christmas (Worst Is Over) Return to Headlines
Seeing his company return to profit in the third quarter was sufficient reason for Millennium & Copthorne’s (M&C) Chairman Kwek Leng Beng to proclaim that the worst was over for the hotel industry. In the three months to 30 September M&C returned a pre-tax profit of £6.6 million, although this figure was down 37.7% on the previous year’s comparable. Turnover for the third quarter was 3.1% lower, at £134.6 million, but RevPAR saw continued improvement and finished 6.7% down, at £41.29. As well as matters wholly financial, company Chief Executive John Wilson apparently has Le Meridien on his mind; the Financial Times quoted him as saying that M&C was watching the widely reported restructuring process there with interest.

Mövenpick Moves In And Picks Fourth Hotel In Arabia Return to Headlines
With the ink scarcely dry on the agreement to manage the 210-room Mövenpick Hotel Jeddah, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has returned to Saudi Arabia to sign a similar contract on a 148-room hotel that will open in 2005 in the eastern coastal city of Al Khobar. The property is owned by Sheikh Mansour Bin Jumah. On the opposite side of the country, meanwhile, local real estate group Aba al-Khail has paid a reported US$37.3 million for three hotels in Medina; the report adds that Metropolitan Hotels will manage two of them. Across in Algeria, the ides of March will hold special significance for Starwood Hotels & Resorts; construction company SDH has set 15 March 2004 as the completion date for a 324-room Sheraton hotel in the northwestern city of Oran.

There Are Tulips At The End Of The Rainbow Return to Headlines
Rainbow Hotels will have 43 hotels in its Norwegian portfolio come New Year’s Day thanks to three early gifts from its partner Golden Tulip Hotels (GTH). The recently opened 109-room Golden Tulip Rainbow Hotel Ski, near Oslo, and the 51-room Tulip Inn Rainbow Hotel Carlton in Lillestrøm will be joined on 1 January by the 30-room Golden Tulip Rainbow Hotel Wergeland in Kristiansand. GTH is planning further expansion in Scandinavia, and there to see it in his new role as regional Development Manager is Niklas Sigurdsson. Recently appointed as the company’s Franchise Development Manager in central Europe is Rolf Erik Huebbers, who should be seeing his employer also expand in the German-speaking countries in the region.

Strathmore Takes The High Road, Radisson SAS The Low Road Return to Headlines
Strathmore Hotels has paid Milton Hotel Group an undisclosed sum for two properties in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands: the 119-room Milton Hotel & Leisure Club and the 97-room Alexandra Hotel. The purchases take Strathmore’s hotel portfolio to eight. Radisson SAS Hotels can better that total in the UK by three, after taking control of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Edinburgh. The 238-room property, which has been renamed the Radisson SAS Hotel, Edinburgh, will now submit to a £4.5 million renovation.

Anker Weighs In With The Cash In Gothenburg Return to Headlines
Anker Holding and an unnamed partner have paid Choice Hotels Scandinavia a reported €31.3 million for the 184-room Quality Hotel 11 in the Swedish city of Gothenburg just five months after Choice paid Norwegian real estate group Aspelin-Ramm a reported €30.3 million for the property. A sale has also been conducted over the border in Finland, with Holiday Club Finland paying an undisclosed sum for the 175-room Congress and Spa Hotel Caribia in the southwestern city of Turku. The new owners will move into the renamed Holiday Club Caribia in December. If you prefer your spa somewhat warmer then you should head for northwestern Turkey next May when the health ministry will be unveiling a 60-room spa hotel in Yalova. Sun worshippers may prefer northern Portugal, where local tour operator Douro Azul will embark early next year on an initial €26 million phase of construction work on the five-star Douro Marina Hotel. Or perhaps you may prefer to fall in love with the InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort Cyprus, a £38 million 290-room hotel that will open next summer at Lanitis Development’s £150 million Aphrodite Hills resort in Pafos.

Unhappy Ending For Limerick Ryan Return to Headlines
According to a report in the Irish press, the Limerick Ryan Hotel is to close next month as a prelude to the site’s being redeveloped as an aparthotel. The news comes just five months after Budelli acquired the 181-room property from Gresham Hotel Group for €11 million. The new owners reportedly made their decision after concluding that there was no immediate prospect of the hotel’s returning to profit. Choice Hotels Ireland, which assumed the hotel’s management after the transaction, is due to receive compensation for having had its contract prematurely terminated.

Queens’ Latest Proclamation Return to Headlines
Queens Moat Houses (QMH) has issued a statement to report that its strategic review, which has been in progress for at least three months, is continuing. The process was initiated in the face of market difficulties and in a bid to resolve the company’s complex debt structure, to which end QMH is still talking with its lenders. Life at QMH goes on, but without Chairman Richard Jewson, who has resigned; he is succeeded by Steve Marshall, the former Chief Executive of Railtrack Group.

News From Moscow And Eastern Europe Return to Headlines
Reports suggest that the Moscow News publishing house in the Russian capital will be redeveloped, at an estimated cost of US$20 million, into a 200-room, three-star hotel. Meanwhile, Russian oil company Lukoil is planning to persuade NIS Jugopetrol to part with the Hyatt Regency Jelen hotel at the Crni Vrh tourist resort in eastern Serbia. Across the border, the Croatian Privatisation Fund is to sell an 87.84% stake in Dubrovnik’s Hotel Neptun to Zagreb-based construction company Importanne for a reported US$4.7 million.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 30/10/03-06/11/03

Pandox - Heavy trading in Pandox shares was reported prior to the takeover bid by Eiendomsspar and Sundt.

InterContinental Hotels Group - The share price rose with a return in investor confidence in the international markets; Williams de Broe kept its ‘Buy’ rating on the stock.

Millennium & Copthorne - A slump in third-quarter profit disappointed investors and Deutsche Bank, which cut its rating from ‘Buy’ to ‘Hold’.