Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 11 November 2005
Icahn Takes A Stake In Fairmont Hotels
Dunne Said To Be Keen On The Berkeley Court
Peab To Take Delivery Of Gothenburg Post Office
The Hotel Des Bergues Reopens Under The Four Seasons Banner
Nine-Month Figures From Sol Meliá
Kerzner Fine-Tunes Atlantis, The Palm
A Towering Presence In Bristol
Proposed Hotel In Chelmsford Could Be The Cat's Whiskers
NH Hoteles Doubles Up In Alicante
Autogrill Toasts Another Tulip Inn
The Legend Of Albert

Icahn Takes A Stake In Fairmont Hotels
Self-made dollar billionaire Carl Icahn this week reminded the world why Forbes’ website describes him as a “shareholder activist”. He fulfilled the shareholder criterion by taking a stake of 9.3% in Fairmont Hotels & Resorts through two investment funds affiliated to him. He went on to satisfy the “activist” portion of the phrase by indicating that Fairmont might like to pursue alternative strategies to maximise the company’s value. Deutsche Bank noted that these alternatives could include the sale either of the company or of part of its owned real estate. Fairmont’s CEO William Fatt noted that the board expected to meet with Mr Icahn “in the near future” to discuss his ideas.

Dunne Said To Be Keen On The Berkeley Court Return to Headlines
DTC Construction Services and Mr Sean Dunne…Choice Hotels Ireland, Prem Group, Heuston Hospitality and Mr Patrick Kelly…Quinlan Private. All three groups were announced earlier this year as potential bidders for Jurys Doyle Hotel Group, and all have now removed their hats from the bidding ring and exited. However, according to a report in the Irish Times Sean Dunne might well reappear at Jurys Doyle’s front door, but on another matter entirely. His company Padholme recently closed the €260 million purchase of Jurys Doyle’s Ballsbridge site in Dublin, and Mr Dunne is one of at least seven parties bidding to acquire one of the hotels on the site: The Berkeley Court. Jurys Doyle announced in September that it was making plans to sell the property.

Peab To Take Delivery Of Gothenburg Post Office Return to Headlines
Swedish construction firm Peab will on 1 December become the new owner of the central post office in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. The company is to pay 22 million Swedish kronor (approximately €2.3 million) to Postens Pensionsstifelse for the shares in Fastighets AB Centralposthuset, the property’s owner. Peab will subsequently sell the shares to its compatriot Capona, and the two will work together with Choice Hotels to turn the property into a hotel of some 350 rooms.

The Hotel Des Bergues Reopens Under The Four Seasons Banner Return to Headlines
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is living proof that patience has its reward. The company knew from the moment that Kingdom Holding Company acquired the Hotel des Bergues in 2003 that the oldest and finest hotel in the Swiss city of Geneva would one day be flying its flag. Four Seasons knew better than to make an immediate grab for the hotel; it would have got paint all over itself had it done so, for the property submitted itself to a year-long programme of restoration in 2004. And now that the craftsmen have gone Four Seasons can have its reward; welcome to the company’s first hotel in Switzerland: the 103-room Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva.

Nine-Month Figures From Sol Meliá Return to Headlines
Hurricane Wilma blew through Sol Meliá’s five hotels in Mexico in October, but the storm came too late to ruffle the company’s nine-month figures. For by the end of September Sol Meliá had seen its European Resort Division breeze through the summer season to post an increase in RevPAR of 3.5%. Hotels in the European City Division with their nine-month RevPAR rise of 4.7% kept any threatening cloud safely on the horizon and ensured that the sunshine of the figures shone through: a 7.3% increase in company revenues, to €876.2 million, and a 47.1% increase, to €82.5 million, in attributable net profit. The company has forecast that the battered Mexican hotels should have reopened by the first quarter of 2006.

Kerzner Fine-Tunes Atlantis, The Palm Return to Headlines
Kerzner International has revised its plans for its Atlantis, The Palm project on The Palm, Jumeirah development off the coast of Dubai. Rather than build an 800-room, four-star property alongside the five-star Royal Towers, Kerzner and its joint venture partner Istithmar will instead increase the number of rooms at the five-star property from 1,200 to some 1,500. The emirate of Dubai was witness this week too to the opening by Coral International of the Coral Boutique Hotel Apartments. The company reportedly wants to have added another 20 hotels in the Middle East to its current tally of five by 2008. Coral already has two projects underway in both the Lebanese capital Beirut and the emirate of Ras el Khaimah.

A Towering Presence In Bristol Return to Headlines
A two-year project that has as its aim the conversion of a former office block into a 176-room hotel was due to have started this week in the city of Bristol in southwest England. An 18-storey tower on the Broad Quay development is the focus, and said to be looking on is Radisson SAS Hotels, which, according to reports, has already been lined up to manage the resultant hotel. Up in the northwest, meanwhile, hopes that the Hope Street Hotel in Liverpool had that it could expand have come a step nearer fulfilment. The owners of the 48-room boutique property are said to have paid £1.4 million for an adjoining building, and they will now apply for planning permission to turn the former police headquarters over to hotel use.

Proposed Hotel In Chelmsford Could Be The Cat's Whiskers Return to Headlines
The world’s first purpose-built radio factory could find itself tuning in to life as a five-star hotel, according to reports. The building in Chelmsford, Essex, became home in 1912 to the Marconi Company. Current occupier Selex Communications should have left the building by 2007, and it has named Cambridge-based Ashwell Property Group as the company it would like to see redevelop the nine-acre site and the Grade II listed factory.

NH Hoteles Doubles Up In Alicante Return to Headlines
A traveller now has two NH hotels in Alicante to choose from. The newest arrival in the southeastern Spanish city is the NH Alicante, a 100-room, four-star property in which NH Hoteles has invested €1.3 million. From neighbouring Portgual come reports that native construction firm Sopol has been chosen to build the Hotel da Aldeia dos Capuchos. This 289-room, four-star property, which is set to open on the Costa da Caparica, immediately south of Lisbon, in spring 2007, is part of the Aldeia dos Capuchos real estate development.

Autogrill Toasts Another Tulip Inn Return to Headlines
When it is not providing travellers with food and beverages, Italian group Autogrill probably likes to relax in the company of the 12 hotels it operates in Benelux. A quarter of those hotels now fly the Tulip Inn flag, the latest addition being the 192-room Tulip Inn Amsterdam Riverside. The three-star property lines up alongside its Dutch cousins the Tulip Inn Oosterhout, which took the franchise in August 2003, and the Tulip Inn Leiderdorp, which joined up in April this year.

The Legend Of Albert Return to Headlines
If your name is Albert and you live in Riga then take precautions now to ensure that you are not mistaken for what will soon be, reportedly, the third-largest hotel in the Latvian capital. Legend Management is to open a 246-room hotel named Albert in December. Any Alberts who might be staying at the five-star Delta Nature Resort in eastern Romania should not shout about it for fear of frightening the wildfowl. They should instead silently train their binoculars on reports that suggest that the shareholders in the complex want to open similar resorts elsewhere in the country.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 03/11/05-10/11/05

Hilton Group - UBS anticipates Hilton's announcing in its trading update next week a good performance from its hotels. UBS retains its 'Buy 2' rating but raises its target price from 370p to 410p.

Whitbread - Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein placed a 'Sell' rating on the stock in its belief that the widely rumoured break-up of the company was unlikely to happen soon.

De Vere Group - Panmure Gordon felt the company would be unlikely to bid for Rentokil's Initial Style conference division, a division that Panmure saw as a good fit. Consequently, Panmure put a 'Sell' rating on the stock. The Times reported the previous day that De Vere Group had dropped out of the bidding.