Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 21 October 2005
HEBV: A Sale Or Afloat?
Office Building Changes At Waterloo
The UAE Finds Itself Turning Japanese
Mövenpick Has Two Dates With The Palm
CHE Hotel Group's Interim Results
In The UK Park Inn Does Zero To 13 In 18 Months
Von Essen Hotels Talks To Luxury Family Hotels
K+K Adds A Hotel In Romania
Triple The Choice In Scandinavia
Hilton Hotels Corporation Woos Hilton International
Morethanhotels Takes One More Express by Holiday Inn

HEBV: A Sale Or Afloat?
Any company wedded to a shareholder sooner or later finds itself whispering those three little words that keep any such marriage fresh – “return of value”. Hotel owner and asset manager Hospitality Europe BV (HEBV) was the latest to utter those words, as it emerged from a strategic review with a plan either to sell its assets or to float itself on the market. HEBV owns eight hotels (3,227 rooms) in Europe, and they rank in order of number of rooms from the 1,008-room Sheraton Frankfurt Hotel & Towers to the 128-room Four Points Hotel Brussels.

Office Building Changes At Waterloo Return to Headlines
Carlyle Europe Real Estate Partners II, the European real estate fund that is part of private equity firm The Carlyle Group, and Skelton Developments have clubbed together to pay the Church Missionary Trust Association £15 million for Partnership House, an office building near Waterloo railway station in London. The new owners have plans to convert the property into two hotels. To London’s southwesterly reaches next, where in Richmond-upon-Thames a private investment company based in the UK has acquired the 138-room, three-star Richmond Hill Hotel for £30 million. Folio Hotels’ 35-year lease on the Grade II listed property remains intact.

The UAE Finds Itself Turning Japanese Return to Headlines
JAL Hotels will be the first Japanese company to operate hotels in the United Arab Emirates. This subsidiary of Japan Airlines is scheduled to touch down in the emirate of Fujairah in December 2006 and again, only this time in Dubai, 12 months later. The five-star hotels that JAL will be managing are both owned by Kuwaiti firm ACICO International Real Estate Development. The Nikko Fujairah Resort & Spa will have 262 guest rooms and the Hotel Nikko Tower Dubai 487. On its approach to Dubai JAL Hotels may well fly over the Hawthorn Hotel Deira; this 133-room, four-star property is owned by SFC Group of Abu Dhabi and is due to open this November.

Mövenpick Has Two Dates With The Palm Return to Headlines
Dubai might care to nominate 2007 as the year of the Mövenpick, after the Swiss company announced this week details of four new hotels it is to manage in the emirate. March of that year will find the company on the trunk of The Palm, Jumeirah development outside the 196-room Mövenpick Resort Oceana The Palm Jumeirah. The 245-room Mövenpick Hotel & Residence Deira will blossom in May on the mainland, in Deira. Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts will make a return visit to The Palm Jumeirah in December, where, on the crescent, it will take the keys to the 291-room, de luxe five-star Mövenpick Resort & Spa The Palm Jumeirah. The company will finish with a stroll along the Sheikh Zayed Road where the 347-room Ibn Battuta Hotel awaits.

CHE Hotel Group's Interim Results Return to Headlines
The Comfort Hotel in Kensington, London, restored as it is to brand flagship status, is testimony to the vigour of CHE Hotel Group’s recent refurbishment programme. Work like this causes some disruption to business, of course, and it is not so easy to paper over the cracks this disruption and a “soft start” to the year made in the company’s figures for the six months to 30 June 2005. Pre-tax loss widened from £1.5 million to £1.8 million, and turnover fell by 1.0%, to £37.2 million. Wearers of the CHE T-shirt need not disappear into a jungle of despair, though. One reason they can be cheerful is the ongoing expansion of the Sleep Inn portfolio in the UK; hotels in Derby and Shrewsbury are due to open early next year, and the company has received planning approval on sites in Doncaster, Birmingham and near Tower Bridge, in London.

In The UK Park Inn Does Zero To 13 In 18 Months Return to Headlines
Earlier this month Jefferson Hotels acquired nine UK hotels from Queens Moat Houses. Alongside this news came confirmation that Rezidor SAS Hospitality would be operating all nine under the Park Inn brand. This week Rezidor informed the world at large of its plans for these properties, which have a total of 1,196 rooms. Five of the hotels are already under its managerial wing; the other four will be thus enveloped from 1 December. All nine properties will enjoy a two-year programme of renovation costing some £15 million. Living every brushstroke along the way will be Martin Holze, who has been appointed regional director for the brand in the UK.

Von Essen Hotels Talks To Luxury Family Hotels Return to Headlines
Luxury Family Hotels (LFH) has been in talks with potential suitors since May. Luckily, it had sufficient breath left to inform the markets this week that it is currently in conversation with Von Essen Hotels 4 Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Von Essen Hotels. Von Essen, which owns 17 hotels in the UK, is considering making an offer of a minimum of £2.70 for each share in LFH, which has four hotels in the UK.

K+K Adds A Hotel In Romania Return to Headlines
K+K Hotels’ tenth property will be the Austrian chain’s first hotel in Romania. The company has invested a reported €24 million in the 66-room K+K Hotel Elisabeta, which is due to open in Bucharest in January. Rixos Hotels’ recent adventures took it eastwards too: into the Ukraine, where the Turkish chain opened the 434-room Rixos Hotel Prikarpatye in the city of Truskavets. Company and country are due to renew their acquaintanceship next year when Rixos heads for the capital to open the 223-room Rixos Hotel Kiev.

Triple The Choice In Scandinavia Return to Headlines
Guests who enjoy staying at the Hotel Victoria in the Swedish city of Gothenburg should not be alarmed when they find the name missing from the brochures come 1 November. All that will have happened is that Choice Hotels Scandinavia will have come along with a franchise agreement, with the result that the name of the 55-room hotel will have changed to the Comfort Hotel City Center. The company will repeat the procedure on the same day in the Norwegian port of Narvik, with the signwriters here having merely to snap off the Radisson SAS prefix to the 107-room Grand Royal Hotel Narvik and replace it with the words Quality Hotel. The work involved in renaming the 97-room Hotel Vävaren as the Comfort Hotel Jazz will improve circulation in chilly fingers in the Swedish city of Borås on New Year’s Day.

Hilton Hotels Corporation Woos Hilton International Return to Headlines
Hilton Hotels Corporation (HHC) holds the rights to the Hilton name in the USA, and Hilton International holds the rights to the name everywhere else in the world. And ever since 1964 when this state of affairs was established, observers have been wondering when the two would be rejoined in matrimony. Those observers would have been pricing the confetti at the end of last week in anticipation after Hilton International confirmed press speculation that HHC had put in an offer for its hotel division. A general consensus among observers is that the potential deal could be worth £3.6 billion.

Morethanhotels Takes One More Express by Holiday Inn Return to Headlines
Morethanhotels owns and operates eight Express by Holiday Inn properties in the UK. So it will come as little surprise to hear that the company’s latest addition to its portfolio – in the centre of Bradford, in West Yorkshire – wears the same livery. Morethanhotels has taken the lease on the 120-room hotel from Gallagher Developments. The company now has charge of 947 rooms; this total will rise by 34 before the year is out, with the opening of a £2 million extension to the 100-room Newcastle-Metro Centre hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 13/10/05-20/10/05

Hilton Group - News of Hilton Hotels Corporation's proposed offer for Hilton International sent the share price soaring.

InterContinental Hotels Group - The news from Hilton led to speculation that IHG too might become a takeover target.

De Vere Group - Investors reacted to the news of the fire-damage to De Vere's distillery G&J Greenall.