Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 25 November 2005
Hilton Group Sells 15 Hotels In The UK
Starwood Hotels Completes Its Purchase Of The Le Meridien Brand
The Concept Of Hotel Ownership By IFA Hotels
Aldar Properties Sets To Work On the Al Gurm Resort
Hotel Ukraina Takes Biskvit To Be Its New Owner
Three From Foremost Gives Morethan Twelve
Dunne Sings At The Berkeley Court
Prague Welcomes Brother Rocco
The London Trocadero Could House The Ibis Piccadilly
IHG Announces Another Disposal Alongside Its Third-Quarter Results
Victoria-Jungfrau In Charge At The Hotel Eden Au Lac

Hilton Group Sells 15 Hotels In The UK
From the treetops of Aberdeen to the shores of Southampton people along the length of the UK found a vantage point from which to wave a semi-farewell to Hilton Group. For though the company has passed on the ownership of 15 hotels to Managed Hotels Unit Trust (MHUT) for £382.4 million in cash, it will be around for at least the next 30 years in a managerial capacity. The hotels, which have a net book value of £341.4 million and a combined total of 2,974 rooms, include the Hilton London Olympia and the Hilton London Gatwick Airport. MHUT might also be in line to acquire the Hilton Edinburgh Airport. Hilton Group has been encouraged by this transaction into putting other hotels with a value of more than £400 million on the market. The Hilton London Metropole and the Hilton Birmingham Metropole will be among those involved.

Starwood Hotels Completes Its Purchase Of The Le Meridien Brand Return to Headlines
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has announced that it has completed the acquisition of the Le Meridien brand and the related management and franchise business for a total of close to US$225 million. The two parties signed an agreement back in the summer to set the wheels in motion following on from a decision made earlier in the year by Lehman Brothers and Starwood Capital Group Global to form a joint venture to acquire Le Meridien’s owned and leased portfolio. The Le Meridien flag will still fly high; indeed, Starwood Hotels has plans for the brand’s expansion, especially in the USA, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.

The Concept Of Hotel Ownership By IFA Hotels Return to Headlines
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is to collaborate in a concept thought up by IFA Hotels & Resorts. The concept is called Hotel Ownership by IFA Hotels & Resorts, and it allows investors to own a freehold branded hotel residence held in a rental pool operated by Mövenpick. The first property up for grabs is the Mövenpick Hotel & Residence Laguna Tower Dubai, which is due to open in 2008 at IFA’s Jumeirah Lake Towers mixed-use development in the emirate of Dubai. IFA is keen for Europe, Africa and Asia to join the Middle East in the fun, and the company is scouting for likely gateway cities in which it can either build new hotels or redevelop existing ones.

Aldar Properties Sets To Work On the Al Gurm Resort Return to Headlines
A cluster of islands in the emirate of Abu Dhabi is to be home to a five-star resort. Aldar Properties is the company behind the Al Gurm Resort, which will open its 161 suites and 59 luxury villas in 2007. Meanwhile, reports indicate that Accor has been in neighbouring Dubai to sign an agreement with Dr Sheikh Al Nahyan for it to manage the Mercure Grand Hotel and Residence Jumeirah Lake. The 269 rooms and 88 serviced apartments at the US$68 million five-star property are due to open in May 2008.

Hotel Ukraina Takes Biskvit To Be Its New Owner Return to Headlines
Two months on from the rumours that it might be put up for sale, the Hotel Ukraina in Moscow has been sold at auction. Russian company Biskvit has until 10 December to hand over the reported US$274 million that it bid, a figure well in excess of the US$180 million that certain observers gave as their top-end estimate back in September. The 1,017-room Soviet-era hotel could cost as much as US$70 million to renovate.

Three From Foremost Gives Morethan Twelve Return to Headlines
Morethanhotels now has 12 Express by Holiday Inn hotels in the UK in its possession after it paid an undisclosed sum for Foremost Hotels, the owner of three hotels of the brand. The Bristol City Centre, Birmingham NEC and Stafford M6 properties add a total of 378 rooms to Morethanhotels’ collection, taking the company’s room count to 1,359.

Dunne Sings At The Berkeley Court Return to Headlines
Fresh from completing the purchase of Jurys Doyle Hotel Group’s Ballsbridge site in Dublin, Padholme, a company run by Sean Dunne, has now bought the site occupied by one of the hotels adjacent: The Berkeley Court. The €119 million deal is expected to complete in January; Jurys Doyle will remain as the operator of the five-star hotel until late in 2007. The announcement of the sale comes in the same week as JDH Acquisitions’ revelation that it now has control of some 97.9% of the shares in Jurys Doyle Hotel Group.

Prague Welcomes Brother Rocco Return to Headlines
St Thomas’s Monastery in Prague is the largest of five buildings that in combination will give Rocco Forte Hotels its first property in the Czech Republic. Bank of Scotland is joining the hotelier in the project, which will result in a 101-room, five-star hotel. The monks, who will continue to occupy part of the monastery after the hotel is finished in 2007, can expect to awaken to the sound of drilling early in the new year.

The London Trocadero Could House The Ibis Piccadilly Return to Headlines
Over the course of its long life the London Trocadero has seen probably as much toing and froing as nearby Piccadilly Circus. Property investor Golfrate Holdings came in through the doors in May when it paid Burford Holdings some £225 million for the site. A few weeks later and it seemed as though Travelodge might come following after, as Golfrate announced plans for the conversion of the upper floors of the building into a budget hotel. A few months later and the plans remain the same, but for Travelodge read Accor. The hotel chain is hoping for permission to develop the Ibis Piccadilly, a hotel of more than 600 rooms that is scheduled to open in 2009. Despite the excitement, Accor has not forgotten the budgetary requirements of England's second city Birmingham. The UK has its third sighting of the Etap brand with the opening of the 250-room Etap Hotel Birmingham Centre.

IHG Announces Another Disposal Alongside Its Third-Quarter Results Return to Headlines
As InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is well aware, if you dispose of hotels your group operating profit is bound to decline; and it did, falling from £102 million to £87 million over the three months to 30 September 2005. Nothing undaunted, IHG proceeded this week to sell the leasehold interest in the 284-room Crowne Plaza Birmingham City to Centre Island Birmingham for £24.4 million. The hotel, which will retain the Crowne Plaza brand, is joining hotel group Centre Island’s portfolio of seven other UK properties, six of which fly IHG flags. The four Holiday Inns among them will have plenty to be pleased about after a read of the third-quarter figures; the UK collection saw their RevPAR rise by 1.8%. RevPAR across IHG’s entire hotel portfolio was up by 8.8%.

Victoria-Jungfrau In Charge At The Hotel Eden Au Lac Return to Headlines
Only those who can demonstrate extreme patience and have a history of longevity in their family are eligible to join the fan club of Swiss company Victoria-Jungfrau. Those around to see the company’s formation in 1895 were destined to wait 102 years for it to make its first acquisition. It is to be hoped that the shock of the news of the arrival of the company’s third hotel after a wait of a mere eight years will not cut a swathe through the ranks of the centenarian supporters. The party for the survivors will be held at the Hotel Eden au Lac in the city of Zürich. The 53-room luxury property, which Victoria-Jungfrau acquired from its private owners for an undisclosed sum, joins the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, in Interlaken, and the Palace Luzern in the company's collection.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 17/11/05-24/11/05

De Vere Group - Past rumours of takeover talk flared up again.

Millennium & Copthorne - Stockbrokers Charles Stanley said that M&C's securing a management contract in Shanghai was a positive deal. The broker keeps its 'Accumulate' rating.

Hilton Group - Williams de Broe placed a 'Buy' rating on the stock.