Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 22 July 2005
Raffles Agrees To Sell Hotel Business To Colony Capital
Starwood Capital Wins Control Of Taittinger And Société du Louvre
Arora Holdings Acquires The Le Meridien London Gatwick
The Long Leasehold In The Hilton Edinburgh Airport Is Sold
Algeria Looks Forward To Mehri Making Hotels This Christmas
Swallow Hotels Feels Peckish
Desert Snow Forecast
Dakota Really Set To Take Off
NH Hoteles And AC Hotels Celebrate New Openings

Raffles Agrees To Sell Hotel Business To Colony Capital
Raffles Holdings Limited has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to divest its hotel business to Colony HR Acquisitions LLC, an affiliate of Colony Capital LLC, for an enterprise value of US$1 billion, subject to adjustments upon completion. Raffles Holdings is selling its entire hotel business of 41 properties, including Singapore’s 118-year-old Raffles Hotel, for US$859 million cash to Colony Capital, retaining only its interest in the multi-use Raffles City complex. Under the deal, Los Angeles-based Colony Capital will pay a 64% premium above the hotel business’s net tangible assets, and Raffles Holdings will net a gain of US$352 million and keep its 45% share in Tincel Properties, which has a US$407 million stake in Raffles City. The complex houses Swissôtel and Stamford hotels, Raffles City Shopping Centre, Tower Blocks and Convention Centre.

Starwood Capital Wins Control Of Taittinger And Société du Louvre Return to Headlines
US investment firm Starwood Capital should at least not be short on champagne to toast its seeing off at least seven other bidders in the race to acquire a 65% stake in each of Groupe Taittinger and its subsidiary Société du Louvre. Reports suggest that Starwood Capital will proceed to purchase the remaining shares once this initial deal is cleared by the European Union. The US firm has paid a reported €1.16 billion for Groupe Taittinger and €1.69 billion for Société du Louvre, the owner of the 82 luxury hotels belonging to the Concorde Hotels Group and the 800 or so budget hotels that make up Groupe Envergure.

Arora Holdings Acquires The Le Meridien London Gatwick Return to Headlines
Arora Holdings has awarded itself the title of ‘largest hotel operator in the Gatwick area’ after paying the Compass Group an undisclosed sum for the Le Meridien London Gatwick. The hotel’s 500 rooms add to the 432 supplied by the Arora International Gatwick/Crawley. Arora Holdings’ latest purchase, which will enjoy a three-year programme of refurbishment costing some £8 million, will be rebranded as a Sofitel towards the end of this year. That same brand will be adorning a 600-room hotel that Arora is to build at Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

The Long Leasehold In The Hilton Edinburgh Airport Is Sold Return to Headlines
BAA Lynton, acting on behalf of the Airport Hotels Partnership, has sold the long leasehold interest in the Hilton Edinburgh Airport to an unnamed private investor from overseas for close to £8 million. The 150-room, four-star hotel in the Scottish capital is currently let to Stakis, a subsidiary of the Hilton Group, on a 75-year ground lease that expires in 2069.

Algeria Looks Forward To Mehri Making Hotels This Christmas Return to Headlines
It was reported towards the end of last year that Accor had formed a joint venture with the Mehri Group specifically to build hotels in Algeria. The latest news is that the companions are to start work on eight hotels before this year is out. The first two properties – one of them a 160-room Novotel – seem likely to be built in the northeastern city of Constantine. Meanwhile, the newswires have detected the possibility that the Ruparelia Group might start work in January on the construction of the 200-room, five-star Speke Bujagali Falls Hotel in the Ugandan town of Jinja. Work on the US$10 million project is expected to take two years to complete.

Swallow Hotels Feels Peckish Return to Headlines
Swallow Hotels’ appetite for acquisition shows no signs of being sated yet. Following on from last month’s purchase of eight UK hotels from subsidiaries of Corus Hotels, the company has paid close to £75 million for 20 of the North British Trust Group’s (NBTG) 24 hotels in the UK. NBTG has sold the properties – 17 of them in Scotland and the remainder in northern England – in order to concentrate on the development of adventure holidays.

Desert Snow Forecast Return to Headlines
No need to worry, this is not a warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Desert Snow is the name of a proposed development in the emirate of Ras el Khaimah. The multibillion dollar Desert Snow Village, which as one might deduce will offer winter sports facilities, is expected to take eight to ten years to complete in a three-phase process of construction. The mixed-use development will reportedly offer 25 hotels: one underwater hotel and 24 others, each with its own theme.

Dakota Really Set To Take Off Return to Headlines
Racing driver David Coulthard would certainly approve of his business partner Ken McCulloch’s desire, quoted in The Sunday Times newspaper, to “press the accelerator” when it comes to the future development of the Dakota chain. McCulloch reportedly wants to have 40 to 50 of the ‘super-budget’ hotels open across the UK in the next five years. Scotland is favoured in the opening year of the campaign; the country will welcome perhaps as many as six new properties, which will join the two already under development.

NH Hoteles And AC Hotels Celebrate New Openings Return to Headlines
NH Hoteles’ twentieth hotel in the Barcelona region of northeastern Spain is the NH Sant Boi de Llobregat. The company, which contributed €1.9 million of the €7.3 million invested in the property, will operate the 124-room, three-star hotel under lease. NH’s compatriot AC Hotels has been to the city of Burgos in northern Spain to open the 70-room AC Burgos. The company’s joint venture with H10 Hotels – AC10 Hotels – has also been out to stretch its legs, making a sixth visit to Italy to open the 127-room AC10 Bologna in the northern city of Bologna.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 14/07/05-21/07/05

Accor - UBS retains its 'Buy 2' rating ahead of Accor's interims, which are due next week.

Hilton Group - Deutsche Bank has a 'Buy' rating and a target price of 350p.

Sol Meliá - The share price nudged upwards on news from the National Statistics Institute that overnight stays at hotels in Spain were up 5% in June.