Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 12 March 2004
See Hilton If A Franchise Is Your Fancy
NH Hoteles At Home And Away
The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Being An IHG Shareholder
Oman Gives Us A Wave
Forza Tulip
Westbourne Leisure Sells Up To Calco Midlands
Société du Louvre Weathers A Stormy Year
European Highlights From Portugal To Bulgaria
A Feast Of 5,000 New Rooms From Mövenpick
Sir Thomas After Henry In Liverpool
HVS International Is On Its Way To The Forum: Are You?
May Day Signals The Start Of The 4th Global Travel & Tourism Summit

See Hilton If A Franchise Is Your Fancy
How is Hilton International intending to expand its hotel portfolio with greater speed in both new and existing markets? Well, franchising is the answer. Over the past year, the company has been working away with Hilton Hotels Corporation, its partner in the USA, on a franchise business model that now offers interested parties the chance to fly the Scandic or the Hilton flag over their hotel. Hilton International is hardly stepping into the franchise arena cold. It warmed up in the Caribbean in November 2002 with Coral Hotels & Resorts and the Coral by Hilton brand, and then last year helped the Oberoi Group introduce India to nine Trident by Hilton hotels. The Scandic brand has not missed out on franchising either, as those in Norway will know. In a separate announcement Hilton International said the world can expect another 14 of its upscale resorts to be delivered within the next 36 months. The 156-room Hilton Imperial Hotel will open later this year in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik; France can expect to welcome the 174-room Hilton Evian Resort & Spa in 2005, with the same year also bringing forth the 380-room Hilton Venice.

NH Hoteles At Home And Away Return to Headlines
NH Hoteles has headed right for the heart of the capital in bringing its first hotel to Hungary: the NH Budapest. The €12 million 159-room property had been destined for life as an Astron hotel until NH Hoteles swooped to purchase the Astron Hotels & Resorts chain in February 2002. Back home in Spain, NH Hoteles has opened its sixteenth hotel in Barcelona: the 92-room NH La Maquinista. However, that is not all that the country has to enjoy. Sol Meliá is poised to open what will be its fourth hotel in the southern province of Almería, the 186-room, four-star Tryp Indalo, while design hotels' latest offering takes it to the Mediterranean island of Majorca. The 26-room Puro – Oasis Urbano hotel is set to open in the capital Palma.

The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Being An IHG Shareholder Return to Headlines
InterContinental Hotels Group's (IHG) results for the year ending 31 December 2003 bear full testament to Chief Executive Richard North's summary of the preceding 15 months as the hotel industry's 'most difficult period in living memory': group pre-tax profit down 5.4% at £244 million and operating profit from hotels 16.3% lower at £200 million. Shareholders though should dry their eyes and think instead of the £250 million that IHG announced it would be returning to them through a share repurchase programme. Some of that money has accrued from the sale of assets such as the InterContinental May Fair London, and the guessing game that has been played out in the press in recent weeks as to which hotels may be next can but only intensify; IHG revealed that if there are no adverse changes in market conditions then it would ultimately expect to part with assets with a net book value of between £800 million and £1 billion.

Oman Gives Us A Wave Return to Headlines
When The Wave breaks on the shoreline to the west of the Omani capital Muscat it will do so along a seven-kilometre front and will ultimately cover some 2 million m². For The Wave is the country's largest tourism development, with the government providing the land and now seeking investors from both home and abroad who would be willing to meet part of the reported US$805 million cost. The development will have three hotels: a 200-room, five-star spa hotel, a 300-room hotel adjacent to a golf course, and the Marina Tower boutique hotel. Elsewhere in the Middle East, a report suggests that the Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels is to sell four of its five-star floating hotels – the Aton, the Tut, the Anni and the Hetop – that ply the River Nile between Luxor and Aswan.

Forza Tulip Return to Headlines
If you want to be sure of a fine show of Golden Tulips in the spring then you need to prepare in advance, as Golden Tulip Hotels did in Italy back in January. Enlist an old friend – ideally one with local knowledge, like ATA Hotels in this case – and encourage growth by applying a franchise agreement to suitable sites. The city of Milan has proved particularly fertile on this occasion, yielding most of the nine Golden Tulip ATA Residences – a total of 961 rooms. For best results from the hotels they should be planted a few hundred kilometres apart. The 642-room Golden Tulip ATAHOTEL Beach Resort Naxos has taken root on the Sicilian coast at Giardini-Naxos, whereas the 50-room Golden Tulip ATAHOTEL Miramonti prefers a more northwesterly aspect, on the Italian mainland in Saint-Vincent.

Westbourne Leisure Sells Up To Calco Midlands Return to Headlines
The family-run business Westbourne Leisure has sold its collection of hotels, pubs and clubs in the West Midlands to Calco Midlands for a reported £16 million. The two hotels among the 24 properties featured in the sale are both on the outskirts of Birmingham: The Royal Hotel in Sutton Coldfield and The Coach Hotel in Coleshill. Ipswich-based Elizabeth Hotels has also trodden the acquisition trail, reportedly paying more than £1 million for the privately owned Artie's Mill & Lodge. The 21-room property, a converted windmill at Brigg in North Lincolnshire, will enjoy a £450,000 refurbishment from the end of this month. Meanwhile, north from there across the River Humber in Hull, Alfa Properties has plans to redevelop the derelict New York Hotel and turn it into a new six-storey hotel complex. A hotel might also be a feature of the proposed £1.5 billion mixed-use development that Helical Bar and Marks & Spencer would like to see cover 43 acres of derelict industrial land in White City, west London.

Société du Louvre Weathers A Stormy Year Return to Headlines
French hotel and luxury goods company Société du Louvre said that it had weathered well in what it termed an unfavourable economic environment. EBITDA for the year ending 31 December 2003 fell 2.6% to €146.6 million and turnover of €673.5 million was down 2.7% on the previous year's comparable. The luxury Concorde hotels suffered an 11.3% fall in RevPAR as a consequence of receiving fewer international travellers, but the budget hotels within Groupe Envergure all boasted increased RevPAR; the Kyriad hotels returned the best performance, posting a rise of 3.6%. In order to improve operating margins in the year ahead Société du Louvre plans to merge its hotel businesses. A report in the French press suggests that the new collective will be called Louvre Hotels, although the individual brands will retain their separate identities.

European Highlights From Portugal To Bulgaria Return to Headlines
Grupo Espírito Santo is to spend a reported €42 million on the construction of the luxury Victoria Hotel in Vilamoura, northern Portugal, and the company's desire for further building work could lead it over the border into Spain. With a little something it built earlier is Slovenian hotel operator Monsadria, which will unveil the US$18.5 million 114-room, four-star Hotel Mons this September in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. Elsewhere in eastern Europe, the Bulgarian government is looking for a buyer for its 32.45% holding in Novotel Plovdiv, operator of the eponymous 328-room, five-star hotel in Bulgaria's second-largest city and of three hotels in the Black Sea resort of Slănčev Brjag. Native industrial group Synergon Holding, which already has a 65.04% stake, is thought to be interested.

A Feast Of 5,000 New Rooms From Mövenpick Return to Headlines
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts finished what it felt was a difficult year for the tourism industry with EBITDA of €4.9 million and turnover of €275 million, which latter figure was up 7.4% on the comparable for 2002. The Swiss hotel group is free of debt and is looking forward to adding some 5,000 rooms to its portfolio in the near future. The group's President and CEO Jean Gabriel Pérès said that expansion in the next two years would focus on Europe, although the Middle East region would not be neglected. You should expect to see Mövenpick opening properties this year in locations including Berlin, the Disneyland Resort in Paris, and the Egyptian resorts of El Alamein and Taba.

Sir Thomas After Henry In Liverpool Return to Headlines
Liverpool's latest boutique property is to be the Sir Thomas Hotel. The 40-room hotel will result from the transformation of Henry's Table, which the Flanagan brothers acquired recently for a seven-figure sum from Spirit Group. Meanwhile, plans are afoot in nearby Southport to bring a 100-bed, three-star hotel to the Pleasureland amusement park. On the other side of the Irish Sea, Liam and Des O'Dwyer have acquired four buildings adjacent to their Trinity Capital Hotel in Dublin from Alburn and plan to use the space to extend the hotel. The pair are also reported to be interested in opening a 50-room hotel on the city's Ormond Quay. Elsewhere in Dublin, hotelier Terry Sweeney, through his Swords Cloghran Properties company, has reportedly submitted an application to build a 100-room hotel as part of a leisure facility near the airport.

HVS International Is On Its Way To The Forum: Are You? Return to Headlines
The 7th International Hotel Investment Forum – the leading meeting place for the European hotel investment community – opens next week at the InterContinental Berlin in Germany. The event runs from 16 to 18 March, and in addition to its role as a sponsor, HVS International looks forward to welcoming delegates to its stand, which will be sited in the Marquee area near the Wintergarten. Further details on the event may be found at www.berlinconference.com click here.

May Day Signals The Start Of The 4th Global Travel & Tourism Summit Return to Headlines
After the success of last year's event in Vilamoura, Portugal, the World Travel & Tourism Council is to give its Global Travel & Tourism Summit a fourth outing: in the Qatari capital Doha on this occasion. This year's event, which runs from 1 to 3 May at the Sheraton Doha, is entitled 'Driving Change'. What is regarded as being the leading event in the travel and tourism calendar will include Philippe Bourguignon, Richard North and Sebastian Escarrer among its many distinguished panellists. Further details may be obtained from www.globaltraveltourism.com click here or by telephoning Claire Venn on +44 (0) 870 873 0050.

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

Gresham Hotel Group - The share price recovered well from the sharp fall of last week as confirmation was received that the consortium was still in talks.

InterContinental Hotels Group - Morgan Stanley reflected its slight disappointment with IHG's results in its retention of its 'Equal-weight' rating. The figures met UBS's expectations and it keeps a 'Neutral 2' rating.

Whitbread - Teather & Greenwood cut its rating from 'Buy' to 'Hold', saying that the shares appeared to be 'fully priced'.