Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 25 February 2005
Cristal Towers And Radisson
Hilton Group Has One Of Its Best Years
Ramada Pins Four Butterflies
Strong Nylon Supports The Fuller Figure
A Two-Year Burst Of Hotel Openings From Starwood
Kempinski Arrives In Italy
Oxford United's Chairman Keen To Sign Hotel
De Vere Makes A Confident Start To Its New Year
Hotel Complex In Italy May Arise From Madpit

Cristal Towers And Radisson
The latest gamble in Monte Carlo will be whether local shops will be able to maintain sufficient supplies of Windolene now that two glass towers have opened at the Le Meridien Beach Plaza. The towers – the embodiment of the Cristal Concept – bring with them a new lobby, a restaurant and bar and 66 guest rooms, and cost €17.2 million to build. With fewer window-cleaning bills to worry about the German open-ended real estate fund manager Deutsche Immobilien Fonds AG (DIFA) has been free to invest some €38 million in the development of a four-star hotel in the city of Marseilles in southeastern France. The 200-room property will join the Radisson SAS portfolio when it opens in 2007.

Hilton Group Has One Of Its Best Years Return to Headlines
Hilton Group's Chairman Sir Ian Robinson hailed the company's performance over the 12 months to 31 December 2004 as one of the best of recent years. Pre-tax profit before exceptionals of £383.1 million was up 40.6% on the previous year's comparable on turnover of £11.8 billion, itself an improvement of 33.2% on last year. Group Chief Executive David Michels noted the 'steady improvement' in the hotel division, which contributed operating profits of £171.3 million, up 16.9% on the previous year. RevPAR across the entire hotel division was up 7.0% on the previous year, at £46.65. Whether some of those hotels will be around to enjoy a similar party next year all depends on the progress of a fresh round of disposals that Hilton Group has planned. The company, which already has 11 hotels in the UK up for sale, would like to raise between £300 million and £400 million either through an outright sale or by securing 'sale and manageback' deals on an as yet unspecified number of properties.

Ramada Pins Four Butterflies Return to Headlines
The independent operator Butterfly Hotels has signed a franchise deal with Ramada International that has seen the rebranding of Butterfly's four hotels in the East Anglia region of England. The new species of Ramada hotel will be found in Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk (65 rooms); in Colchester, in Essex (54 rooms); in King's Lynn, in Norfolk (50 rooms); and in Peterborough (70 rooms).

Strong Nylon Supports The Fuller Figure Return to Headlines
Millennium & Copthorne (M&C) noted the particularly strong performance of its hotels in New York and London as the company posted a pre-tax profit before exceptionals of £55.0 million for the year ending 31 December 2004, slightly more than double the previous year's total. Turnover rose 4.6% to £547.1 million. RevPAR in New York of £91.37 was an improvement on last year of 16.9%, while in London – where the Millennium Knightsbridge won the M&C award for the hotel with the largest rate growth in the capital – RevPAR was 11.5% higher, at £66.62. Alongside its results, M&C announced that it had set up a dedicated management team, led by Grant Wilkins, that would be responsible for the operation and the expansion of, through franchising or management contracts, the Copthorne hotel portfolio in the UK.

A Two-Year Burst Of Hotel Openings From Starwood Return to Headlines
If you are a fan of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, then this year and the next promise to be two of the happiest years of your life. For in 2005 and 2006 your favourite company will be touring the globe and opening more than 70 hotels along the way. The most popular country on the European leg of Starwood's journey would appear to be Spain, which will have the red carpet out at least five times. Followers in Spain can expect an especially euphoric day in the fourth quarter of 2005 when the 228-room The Westin Real de Faula opens in conjunction with the 232-room Sheraton Real de Faula. Your lucky town is Finestrat. The connoisseur of the Sheraton brand will find much to please in Africa and the Middle East; in Algeria, for example, which welcomes the 321-room Sheraton Oran; in Nigeria, where the 390-room Sheraton Federal Palace is coming to Lagos in 2006; and in Syria when the 198-room Sheraton Aleppo arrives in the third quarter of 2005.

Kempinski Arrives In Italy Return to Headlines
Should this Saturday find you on the western coast of Sicily with nothing to do, then you could get your weekend off to a promising start with a visit to the town of Mazara del Vallo. Then in years to come you can say you were there when Kempinski Hotels & Resorts opened its first property on Italian soil: the 91-room Kempinski Giardino di Costanza Resort & Spa. Were you though to be on the island of Crete, then you could perhaps keep Iktinos Hellas company while it awaits planning permission for an extensive mixed-use development. The Greek firm, which specialises in the cutting of marble and granite, is hoping to attract banks wanting to contribute towards the reported €65 million cost of the first phase of the work, which will result, among other facilities, in a 350-room, five-star hotel.

Oxford United's Chairman Keen To Sign Hotel Return to Headlines
Firoz Kassam, hotelier and the chairman of Oxford United FC, is reportedly planning to build a budget hotel near the U's stadium. His company, Firoka, has applied for planning permission to construct a property with 87 rooms. Down in south Devon, meanwhile, the privately owned 12-room Buckland-Tout-Saints hotel in Goveton has gone on the market with an asking price of £2.25 million. Another hotel in Devon, the Holiday Inn Plymouth, now knows the identity of its new owner. GSC Property Holdings will pay a reported £1.8 million for the 112-room hotel, which will subsequently be flying the Quality flag. Watch as the same flag flutters this spring in Paddington, west London. London Town Hotels, which purchased the 95-room London Crown Hotel last August for a reported £15 million, will rename the property, which will have its room count lowered to 85, the Quality Crown Hotel Paddington. The property will certainly be spring-fresh, having undergone redevelopment work costing £3 million.

De Vere Makes A Confident Start To Its New Year Return to Headlines
De Vere Group has provided a trading update covering the 20 weeks to 13 February 2005. Shareholders will be pleased to hear that their company's turnover for those 20 weeks is 2.3% ahead on the same period of a year ago. The congregation at today's (25 February) annual general meeting will be equally pleased when they hear a reading of the RevPAR figures. Blessed are the De Vere Hotels, for they have raised their RevPAR by 4.1%; the increase in RevPAR across the Village Hotels & Leisure Clubs portfolio is 3.2%. De Vere Group's Chairman Peter Daresbury is encouraged by the progress made so far this year.

Hotel Complex In Italy May Arise From Madpit Return to Headlines
The Italian press reports that Madpit Group, a consortium which numbers shareholders from the USA, Switzerland and Israel in its ranks, has plans to spend a reported €5 billion on the construction of a luxury hotel complex to the north of the coastal town of Crotone in Italy's southern Calabria region. The complex, which, if approved, will take five years to build, is expected to cover some 1,000 hectares and include a hotel of a five-star or possibly 'six-star' rating, a golf course, a Disney village and a 120,000-seat football stadium.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 17/02/05-24/02/05

Millennium & Copthorne - The company's results met Deutsche Bank's expectations exactly. The bank retained its 'Hold' rating.

Hilton Group - Hilton Group's results were in line with the expectations of several analysts. UBS kept its 'Buy 2' rating. The company's share price, in common with many on the FTSE-100, had taken a battering earlier in the week amid concerns over oil prices.

Sol Meliá - Morgan Stanley maintained an 'Underweight' rating.