Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 19 November 2004
Hilton Group Might Sell 11 UK Hotels
A Trading Update From Hilton Group
Terra Firma Overtakes The Baker In Race For Motorway Services
Hard Rock With 'Madrid' Written Through It
Radisson SAS Is Both Roaming And Roman
Barrett Homes In On Dublin's Hatch Hall
Capona Sells Täby Park Hotel In Sweden
Sutton Oil Prospects For Hotels In The Highlands
Sales Set In Hungary And Russia
Robinson Excited To Find TUI's Footprint On The Algarve

Hilton Group Might Sell 11 UK Hotels
Several newspapers carry the story that Hilton Group is preparing to sell 11 of its hotels in the UK and hoping to raise between £80 million and £100 million. The press north of the border names three of the properties in Scotland to be sold as the 189-room Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor, the 101-room Hilton East Kilbride, which stands on the outskirts of Glasgow, and the 208-room Hilton Dunblane Hydro. Hotels on offer in England are said to include the 72-room Hilton London Mews in Mayfair. The Times and others suggest that the portfolio of 11 properties might be of interest to private equity firm Alchemy Partners, which is thought to be looking at ways of growing its chain Quintessential Hotels (QH). QH rose to prominence in April last year when it acquired two UK properties from Le Meridien: Le Meridien Queens in Leeds and Le Meridien Warwick.

A Trading Update From Hilton Group Return to Headlines
If the 11 hotels are to leave Hilton Group then they will do so with their heads held high, knowing that they helped their sister properties in the UK portfolio record a 1.5% increase in like-for-like RevPAR for the month of October 2004. The company's trading update for the four months to 31 October showed like-for-like RevPAR worldwide for October 2.3% ahead of the previous year's comparable. Hilton noted that its best like-for-like RevPAR return between July and October – an increase of 5.1% – came from its owned and fixed-lease hotels. The sight of a 19% increase in Hilton Group's pre-tax profit for the period moved Chief Executive David Michels to express his confidence in the company going forward. He also predicted a three-year recovery period for hotels.

Terra Firma Overtakes The Baker In Race For Motorway Services Return to Headlines
The planned initial public offering of shares in Autobahn Tank & Rast has been abandoned after the company's principal shareholders – Allianz Capital Partners, Lufthansa Commercial Holding, and funds advised by Apax Partners – agreed to sell their shares to private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners. Terra Firma saw off a challenge from bakery founder Heiner Kamps to secure a company that operates 381 service areas (home to 51 hotels) and 338 filling stations across the German motorway network. Some newspapers put the purchase price at close to €1.1 billion.

Hard Rock With 'Madrid' Written Through It Return to Headlines
Fans of the Rank Group remember well the moment in June 2003 when their idols took centre stage in Chicago alongside Spanish star Sol Meliá and previewed what would be their first hit together: Hard Rock Hotel. After fixing up further dates in the USA – New York in 2005 and San Diego in 2006 – Rank has sent Hard Rock International on its first tour of Europe, which will start in the Spanish capital Madrid in autumn 2005. The 202-room Tryp Reina Victoria, which Sol Meliá holds on a long-term lease, will be extensively refurbished in readiness for its rebranding as the Hard Rock Hotel Reina Victoria. The joint venture formed between Hard Rock and Sol Meliá will manage the property under a long-term contract.

Radisson SAS Is Both Roaming And Roman Return to Headlines
Rezidor SAS Hospitality's plans for further expansion in France have led it to the southwestern town of Biarritz. One flourish of a franchise agreement was all it took to convince the 150-room Crowne Plaza Hotel Biarritz to rebrand as the Radisson SAS Hotel, Biarritz in January. The early part of 2005 will find Rezidor SAS busy too in the Italian capital, where it will be officially opening the Radisson SAS Hotel, Rome. The company has signed a management agreement on the 262-room ES Hotel that will result in a refurbishment and rebranding of the property. The hotel will not only be the first in Rome to fly the Radisson SAS flag but will also be the one to restore the brand to the Italian market after an absence of three years.

Barrett Homes In On Dublin's Hatch Hall Return to Headlines
The Irish press reports that Gerry Barrett, the head of property developer Edward Holdings, has paid close to €20 million for Hatch Hall in Dublin, a property that was run by the Jesuits as student accommodation. Edward Holdings might redevelop the 80-bedroom property as a hotel. A 100-room, five-star hotel and a championship golf course could be just two of the attractions on offer at a proposed €150 million leisure development in Boyle, Co. Roscommon in the northwest of Ireland. A development group named Newfound Consortium has journeyed from Canada and landed at a site it purchased recently near Lough Key Forest Park. The consortium will beat a path through the trees to the door of Roscommon County Council and pop an application for planning permission through the letter box.

Capona Sells Täby Park Hotel In Sweden Return to Headlines
Swedish hotel and leisure company Capona expects to complete the sale of the Best Western Täby Park Hotel on 1 December. Guldskålen J469 will pay €5 million for the 147-room, four-star property, which stands in Täby in the northern suburbs of the Swedish capital Stockholm. Across the waters of the Baltic, Le Meridien now has an eighth hotel in Germany. Heralded in May and opened as planned in November, the 281-room Le Meridien Stuttgart has been enjoying a €19 million refurbishment courtesy of its owners, the insurance company Aachener und Münchener Versicherungen.

Sutton Oil Prospects For Hotels In The Highlands Return to Headlines
Sutton Oil (Bermuda), which is about to spend a reported £1 million on refurbishment work at the 15-room Altnaharra Hotel in the town of Altnaharra, is said to have given its subsidiary The Altnaharra (Sporting Hotel) licence to roam elsewhere through the Highlands of Scotland looking for further hotel opportunities. While Sutton Oil sets out on the high road, McMillan Hotels is content to take the low road again. The family firm has headed for the Borders with the Bank of Scotland at its side to pay an undisclosed sum for two hotels in Peebles: the 128-room Hotel Hydro and the 24-room Best Western Park Hotel.

Sales Set In Hungary And Russia Return to Headlines
The Club Aliga Hotel and Holiday Centre is 50 hectares of fun on the shores of Lake Balaton in western Hungary, and it is reported to be up for sale. Prospective purchasers have until 10 December to submit their bids for the resort, which boasts facilities including three hotels and 22 villas. Kincstári Vagyoni Igazgatóság has set the opening bid price at a reported €41 million. Buyers interested in opportunities elsewhere in eastern Europe should head for Russia, there perhaps to spend the winter in the western city of Yaroslavl at the newly opened 122-room, four-star Ring Premier Hotel tucked up with a copy of the St Petersburg Property Fund's sales catalogue. Stakes of various sizes held by the government in a selection of hotels in St Petersburg will be on offer either later this year or early next. For example, a 23.3% stake in the Astoria Hotel will set you back a reported US$17 million; alternatively, one might prefer, say, a 74.9% stake in the Pulkovskaya Hotel, which comes only a little more expensive at US$17.8 million.

Robinson Excited To Find TUI's Footprint On The Algarve Return to Headlines
The Portuguese press reports that travel group TUI is to spend €45 million on a 700-bed hotel for its Robinson Club subsidiary in Vila Real de Santo António on the Algarve. Meanwhile, in northern Portugal, the local subsidiary of US footwear company Aerosoles has taken its first step into the hotel sector by opening a property near the Peneda-Gerês National Park. Aerosoles could do a roaring trade in flip-flops were it to set up a stall next month in Tenerife. Spanish chain Dunas Hotels & Resorts expects to be welcoming guests to the 500-room, four-star Hotel Dunas Paraíso on the island in December.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 11/11/04-18/11/04

Jurys Doyle Hotel Group - The Dublin stock exchange was in confident mood on news of falling oil prices.

InterContinental Hotels Group - Deutsche Bank raised its target price from 700p to 735p in expectation of the company's announcing good results later this month.

Hilton Group - UBS retained its 'Neutral 2' rating and Bear Stearns its 'Peer Perform' rating amid mixed news on betting profits and slowing but continued growth across the UK hotel portfolio.