Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 4 August 2006
Strategic Moves In London And Prague
Starwood Inserts A 'W' Into Istanbul
Hyatt To Develop The Park Hyatt Tbilisi
Commercial Hopes To Break Into Ukraine
Gulf Finance House Moves Into Morocco
Meet Golden Tulip In Dar Bouazza
Hilton Provides Garden Inn Advice
Lifestar Pronounced Extinct
Sol Meliá Reports Its Interim Results
Whitbread To Sell Its Slice of Pizza Hut UK
Britannia Acquires Two Former Holiday Inns
Millennium & Copthorne Reports Its Interim Figures

Strategic Moves In London And Prague
Strategic Hotels & Resorts, a real estate investment trust, will shortly have another property to add to the collection of high-end hotels and resorts that it owns and asset manages. The company expects to complete in the third quarter of this year the purchase of the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square; it will pay Blackstone Real Estate Partners US$192 million for the 236-room hotel, which stands on Grosvenor Square in central London. One of the 19 hotels in Strategic’s existing portfolio is the InterContinental Prague in the Czech Republic. Strategic holds a 35% stake in the 372-room hotel and will, later this month, take this holding to 100% by paying EU-Hotel Pte, an affiliate of GIC Real Estate, US$68.9 million. In addition to making this payment, Strategic will assume debt of US$56.5 million.

Starwood Inserts A 'W' Into Istanbul Return to Headlines
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has signed a management agreement with Akaretler Otel Isletmeciligive Turizm to develop the W Istanbul. The hotel, which brings Starwood’s portfolio in Turkey to four, will have around 130 rooms and will open in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul in late 2007. Luxury is also coming the way of the Republic of Ireland. Starwood is working with Irish property company Snowbury to transform Killeen Castle, in Dunsany, Co. Meath, into a 179-room member of The Luxury Collection. The golf and spa hotel is set to open in early 2009.

Hyatt To Develop The Park Hyatt Tbilisi Return to Headlines
The only Georgia that Hyatt International has had on its mind until now is the state of Georgia, USA, where the company has four hotels. Now Hyatt International must focus its thoughts too on the republic of Georgia, part of the former USSR. The company, acting in partnership with International Estate Investments – Georgia, is to develop and operate the Park Hyatt Tbilisi in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. The 183-room hotel will be one of a quintet of buildings that will be operated by Hyatt, the others being a conference centre, an office complex, a restaurant and a spa.

Commercial Hopes To Break Into Ukraine Return to Headlines
Commercial Company, which was set up in 1999 to take charge of investments made in Ukraine by the National Reserve Corporation of Russia, is planning to develop a chain of 20 three-star hotels in Ukraine for a total cost of US$100 million. The country is also of interest to Turkish hotelier Rixos Hotels, which would like to build one five-star hotel in each of the cities of Kiev, Kharkov and Odessa over the next three years. The company is already present in Ukraine with the five-star Rixos Hotel Prikarpatye, which stands in the resort of Truskavets, and it is due to open the Rixos Hotel Kiev this year.

Gulf Finance House Moves Into Morocco Return to Headlines
Gulf Finance House has signed a deal worth US$1.4 billion with the government of Morocco that will allow the Islamic investment bank to build two mixed-use developments as part of the Gateway to Morocco project. The Cap Malabata Resort in the northern port of Tangier will include accommodation, a golf course and a marina in its 129 hectares. The Marrakech Equestrian City, to be built over 380 hectares in the western city of Marrakech, will, as its name implies, boast a racecourse alongside villas and apartments.

Meet Golden Tulip In Dar Bouazza Return to Headlines
Golden Tulip Hospitality (GTH) has added a sixth hotel, a sixth Golden Tulip hotel, indeed, to its portfolio in Morocco. The company has signed a management agreement with Le Four à Chaux that covers the five-star Golden Tulip Hotel des Arts. The property in Dar Bouazza, on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, offers 42 rooms and 44 residential apartments. GTH is to have a second hotel in the city of Düsseldorf, in western Germany. The 282-room, three-star Tulip Inn Düsseldorf – Arena will open in January 2007 at the city’s LTU Arena and will be the fifth hotel in Germany to be managed by GTH.

Hilton Provides Garden Inn Advice Return to Headlines
“Hilton, Hilton reunited/Where does your Garden Inn grow?/In Canada, the US and Mexico.” This verse needs to be updated, ideally by someone who can find a rhyme for ‘Germany’ or ‘Italy’; for Germany and Italy are the new destinations of the Hilton Garden Inn brand. We learned in June that a 314-room example of the brand would be arriving at Frankfurt international airport in spring 2009. However, we know now that that hotel will be preceded by the arrival in the fourth quarter of 2006 of the Hilton Garden Inn Stuttgart NeckarPark. This 141-room hotel in the western city of Stuttgart is owned by the Haussler Group and SV Insurances. Italy will maintain the symmetry by opening two hotels of its own: the 282-room Hilton Garden Inn Rome Airport, which is owned by Icarus, and the 123-room Hilton Garden Inn Florence Novoli, which is owned by Mita Hotels. These hotels will also be opening in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Lifestar Pronounced Extinct Return to Headlines
Lifestar was a joint venture formed in 2003 by Sol Meliá and Rank Group with the intention of developing hotels under Rank’s Hard Rock brand. Indeed, the partnership opened a Hard Rock hotel in Chicago, USA, in 2004 and announced the same year plans to refurbish the Tryp Reina Victoria in the Spanish capital Madrid and reopen it as the Hard Rock Hotel Reina Victoria. This plan, along with others such as the refurbishment of the Paramount Hotel in New York, will now be consigned to the filing cabinet of history as far as the partnership is concerned following Sol Meliá’s and Rank Group’s decision to dissolve the joint venture. The decision was taken based on a refocusing of strategy by both parties. Sol Meliá will not be letting good paint go to waste, though; the Spanish hotelier will adapt the Reina Victoria to its own purpose: the development of a new lifestyle hotel product under the Meliá brand.

Sol Meliá Reports Its Interim Results Return to Headlines
Sol Meliá will sit with greater ease in its deckchair and look forward more eagerly to the good summer season it is expecting after seeing its net profit for the first six months of 2006 rise by 72.9% to €50.4 million. The company will feel the warmth of the sun all the more for knowing that revenues rose 9.1%, to €581.1 million, and that RevPAR across its portfolio was 6.3% higher, at €48.2. Sol Meliá noted that it had sold the 319-room Meliá Rey Don Jaime, in the Spanish city of Valencia, for €38.5 million and had taken 100% ownership of the 384-room Tryp Bellver, on the island of Majorca, by paying €3.2 million for the outstanding 33%.

Whitbread To Sell Its Slice of Pizza Hut UK Return to Headlines
Whitbread gave us all ten days to digest news of the sale of 239 of its stand-alone pub restaurants before serving up a second substantial course of news, this one involving Pizza Hut UK. Whitbread has since 1997 shared 50:50 with Yum! Restaurants Holdings a company that operates more than 650 outlets in the UK. This week Yum answered a ring on its doorbell to find Whitbread ready to deliver up its half-share of Pizza Hut UK. Fortunately, Yum had in its wallet the £112 million that Whitbread was asking for, and come late September/early October Yum can expect to be tucking into full ownership of the restaurant chain while Whitbread feasts its eyes on the £99 million (after debt and other liabilities) it will be receiving.

Britannia Acquires Two Former Holiday Inns Return to Headlines
Britannia Hotels has visited the north and northwest of England to add two more hotels to the 31 it already has in the UK. The company paid an undisclosed sum for the 160-room Holiday Inn Leeds Bradford Airport, which becomes the Britannia Leeds Bradford Airport Hotel, and the 98-room Holiday Inn Bolton M61, which becomes the Britannia Bolton Hotel. The transaction means that LRG Acquisition (a consortium formed by Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners, Realstar Asset Management and GIC Real Estate) has completed the sale of all 11 of the Holiday Inn hotels in the UK that it put on the market last autumn. The 11 hotels were among 68 Holiday Inn properties that LRG Acquisition bought as part of a total package of 73 UK hotels from InterContinental Hotels Group in May 2005.

Millennium & Copthorne Reports Its Interim Figures Return to Headlines
Millennium & Copthorne has published its results for the six months to 30 June 2006. A decline of 7.7% in pre-tax profit, to £36.1 million, was outweighed by strength elsewhere: an 11.3% rise in revenues, to £312.7 million, and an increase in hotel operating profit of 12.6%, to £50.2 million. Marketwide RevPAR was 10.8% ahead of the previous year’s figure and for the month of July it was up by 9.6%. The company noted that the outlook for the rest of the year remained in line with its expectations stated in April.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 27/07/06-03/08/06

Sol Meliá - The share price rose on the strength of the company's interim results and its predictions of a good summer season.

Millennium & Copthorne - Credit Suisse placed an 'Outperform' rating on the stock and named a target price of 450p.

InterContinental Hotels Group - The shares took a tumble towards the end of last week as Starwood Hotels noted that its (Starwood's) RevPAR in the fourth quarter could be at the low end of its expectations.