Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 11 February 2005
Orient-Express Hotels Steams Into Russia
What's On In Oulu
Shangri-La Uses Shard Of Glass To Carve Its Name In Europe
E-ME-A, It's Fun To Expand In The E-ME-A
The Bells In The Belfry They Go 'Ker-Ching'
Domina Heads For Vienna
Hesperia Towers Above Barcelona
Cathedral Group Buys Sundridge Park Hotel
Accor Opens Talks On Leased Hotels
Marriott's Results For 2004
It Could Be Capona's Choice

Orient-Express Hotels Steams Into Russia
Luxury hotel chain Orient-Express Hotels has acquired a majority interest in the Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg. Located on the fashionable Nevsky Prospect, the historic 301-room, five-star hotel is a landmark in the city and is one of Russia's most famous hotels. HVS Hodges Ward Elliott acted as exclusive agent on behalf of the seller, a group of international investors. The City of St Petersburg retains a 6.5% stake in the property. Orient-Express plans to invest a total of some US$125 million over the next three years in the extension and substantial renovation of the hotel. Prior to the sale, the hotel was managed by Kempinski Hotels & Resorts.

What's On In Oulu Return to Headlines
Scandic Hotels has chosen the western city of Oulu as the location of what will be the company's twenty-third hotel in Finland. The 214-room Scandic Oulu will be built in partnership with Tapiola Insurance Group and Finnkino as part of a €43 million cinema complex that is projected to be ready by early 2007. Were Scandic to call in next door for Pandox – to ask what its favourite flavour of popcorn is, perhaps – then it would find that the Swedish hotel company has popped out to northwestern Switzerland. Pandox has paid SFr45 million for the 205-room Radisson SAS Hotel, Basel.

Shangri-La Uses Shard Of Glass To Carve Its Name In Europe Return to Headlines
Londoners have been agog for at least a year now, wondering which hotel company would occupy part of the London Bridge Tower. They will be relieved to hear that the wait is over; floors 34 to 52 of the 70-storey building will be the preserve of a 195-room, five-star hotel supplied by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts. The Hong Kong based company is making its first visit to Europe, and was coaxed to the south side of the Thames by Sellar Property Group. The tower, which has also become known as the 'Shard of Glass', promises to be Europe's tallest building (at 310 m) when it opens in 2009.

E-ME-A, It's Fun To Expand In The E-ME-A Return to Headlines
The Park Inn brand had the 'E' and the 'A' of EMEA but still needed the 'ME'. Rezidor SAS Hospitality has duly obliged, and will release the brand onto the Middle East market in 2007. Saudi Arabia will receive the 148-room Park Inn Al Khobar and the 212-room Park Inn Olaya, Riyadh. Rezidor SAS Hospitality secured the master franchise on Park Inn and other brands in the EMEA region from Carlson Hotels Worldwide in 2002, and these latest additions are just two of the eventual total of 700 hotels of assorted brands that Rezidor SAS hopes to have open by 2012.

The Bells In The Belfry They Go 'Ker-Ching' Return to Headlines
De Vere Group has announced that it expects to have completed a 'sale and manage back' deal on The De Vere Belfry by the end of March. If De Vere's shareholders approve, then Quinn Group will pay £186 million for the 324-room hotel in Warwickshire, which De Vere will continue to manage for the next 25 years under the De Vere Hotels brand. The proposed sale is part of a strategy launched in April 2004 with the aim of giving shareholders good value. And should they give the thumbs up with one hand, they can moisten a forefinger on the other to help them count the net proceeds of the sale – expected to be some £183 million – that De Vere Group will return in the form of a special dividend.

Domina Heads For Vienna Return to Headlines
A first foray into hotel construction by Austrian real estate firm CA Immobilien Anlagen will give Italian chain Domina Hotels & Resorts its third property in Austria. CA Immo is to spend some €86 million on the project, which will see the 350-room, four-star Domina Belvedere rise into the Viennese sky as part of an office complex. The hotel is set to open in mid 2007. Austrians will have cause for a double celebration in 2007, for that is when Arcotel Hotels & Resorts expects to open a hotel in the German city of Stuttgart. Arcotel and an unnamed German investor from Düsseldorf will be starting work on the 176-room property by the end of 2005.

Hesperia Towers Above Barcelona Return to Headlines
Spanish chain Hesperia Hoteles invites you to put your hands together and cast your eyes skywards to welcome all 26 storeys of what will be the Hesperia Tower. The 280-room, five-star hotel in Barcelona cost €52 million. On a clear day, diners in the glass-domed restaurant at the top of the tower might be able to see La Residencia on the island of Majorca. Orient-Express Hotels has reopened the 59-room luxury hotel after a three-month refurbishment costing €1.5 million.

Cathedral Group Buys Sundridge Park Hotel Return to Headlines
Property development and investment company the Cathedral Group has paid Hanover International more than £15 million for the Sundridge Park Hotel and Conference Centre. Any mice that might think they can take advantage of the change in ownership by scurrying in to raid the larder are advised not to approach the property near Bromley in Kent as Cathedral has engaged Initial Style Conferences – part of the Rentokil Initial Group – to operate Sundridge Park on its behalf. Meanwhile, another hotel that was formerly part of the Hanover International portfolio – in Dunstable in Bedfordshire – is now in the hands of businessman Pat Murphy. He acquired the property with the help of Bank of Scotland Corporate and will set about renovating the 68-room hotel, which has reverted to the name Old Palace Lodge.

Accor Opens Talks On Leased Hotels Return to Headlines
Accor has opened exclusive talks with a group of institutional investors led by Foncière des Régions concerning the possible sale and leaseback of a group of 128 hotels in France that Accor currently leases from financial investors. A report in one French newspaper suggests that the deal could be worth €1 billion and that most of the hotels involved would be those flying the Mercure, Ibis or Etap flag. No doubt the Novotel Paris Montparnasse will enjoy following the progress of the talks as the hotel in the French capital matures from a recently laid foundation stone into a fully operational property in June 2006.

Marriott's Results For 2004 Return to Headlines
'The travel industry is booming', declared Marriott International's Chairman and Chief Executive JW Marriott, Jr; and his company's figures for 2004 would certainly back his claim. Marriott International saw hotel operating income for the year rise 20%, to US$575 million, and total company revenues up 12% on the previous year, at US$10 billion. RevPAR across the company's comparable hotels worldwide rose by 9.6%. Marriott International expects to see RevPAR growth of 7-9% in North America in 2005 and a possible hotel operating income worldwide for the year of between US$795 million and US$815 million.

It Could Be Capona's Choice Return to Headlines
Swedish hotel and leisure company Capona has signed an agreement that, subject to due diligence to be conducted this month, will see it pay some €54 million for a 41.6% stake in Choice Hotels Scandinavia. If the deal is successful, then Capona will make an offer for the remainder of the shares.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 03/02/05-10/02/05

De Vere Group - UBS felt that the proposed sale of The De Vere Belfry would significantly enhance earnings, and consequently UBS raised its target price from 585p to 675p.

Hilton Group - Deutsche Bank raised its rating from 'Hold' to 'Buy' and increased its target price from 280p to 350p.

Whitbread - Deutsche Bank raised its target price from 820p to 925p.