Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 1 December 2006
Starman Blows Minds With This Big Deal
Rezidor Hotel Group Floats
Hotetur Hotels Acquires Airtours Beach Club Hotel
Mövenpick Greets Crete
Arena Leisure Hopes To Jump Planning Hurdle At Doncaster
St Petersburg To Welcome Two Holiday Inns
Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva To Open Next Year
Hotel Rath To Open As The Ashbourne Marriott
Rica Hotels Acquires The Rica Hotel Göteborg
Curzon Park In Birmingham To Welcome A Hotel

Starman Blows Minds With This Big Deal
Qatar Investment Authority, the investment arm of the government of Qatar and the owner of Qatar National Hotels Company, has paid Starman UK Company Services an undisclosed sum (the amount paid is more than €100 million) for the Excelsior Hotel Gallia, which stands in the city of Milan, in northern Italy. The sale of the landmark 237-room hotel is reported to have achieved a yield of less than 5%. Starman is the joint venture formed by Starwood Capital and Lehman Brothers Holdings.

Rezidor Hotel Group Floats Return to Headlines
Rezidor Hotel Group has floated, as scheduled, on the Stockholm stock exchange. SAS Group is selling its 75% stake in the company at a final offer price of 52 Swedish kronor a share, which gives Rezidor an implied market capitalisation of 7.8 billion Swedish kronor (€860 million). Carlson Hotels Worldwide is buying 15 million shares from SAS Group in a separate deal for 780 million Swedish kronor (€86 million) to take its holding in Rezidor from 25% to 35%.

Hotetur Hotels Acquires Airtours Beach Club Hotel Return to Headlines
Marsans Group, the largest non-consolidated touristic group in Spain, has a hotel arm Hotetur Hotels, which has stretched out to acquire the Airtours Beach Club hotel. Hotetur paid MyTravel an undisclosed sum for the 158-room property, which stands in Playa del Inglés, on the island of Grand Canary, in the Canary Islands. Hotetur has plans to asset-manage condo-hotel and vacation ownership operations, and the company hopes to have another 20,000 beds under its control by 2010. Overseeing the plans in his role as director of asset management is the newly appointed Ivar Yuste, once of Wyndham Worldwide.

Mövenpick Greets Crete Return to Headlines
The island of Crete lies in the Mediterranean and standing upon the island’s northern coast is Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts. Intent on continuing its expansion in the Mediterranean region, the Swiss hotelier has signed a management agreement with Maris Hotels that covers the four-star Candia Maris resort hotel. The 287-room property will undergo two winters’ worth of renovation and will reopen in April 2008 as the Mövenpick Resort and Thalasso Crete.

Arena Leisure Hopes To Jump Planning Hurdle At Doncaster Return to Headlines
Punters will have their binoculars focused on the racecourse in Doncaster to see how Arena Leisure fares in the planning application stakes. Arena Leisure, which is the largest operator of horseracing fixtures in the UK, will be champing at the bit waiting for the borough council in the South Yorkshire town to consider its plans. If the council raises the starting tape, then Arena Leisure will build a four-star hotel with 34 residential apartments above. The estimated cost of the development has been put at around £17.5 million. Millennium & Copthorne is the favourite to operate the 120-room hotel, the hotelier and Arena Leisure having entered into non-binding heads of terms.

St Petersburg To Welcome Two Holiday Inns Return to Headlines
There is no greater comfort to a hotelier than a well-fitted brace; and a brace of Holiday Inns are well fitted to get their teeth into the Russian city of St Petersburg in 2009. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a franchise agreement with Light Road to open the 480-room Holiday Inn St Petersburg-Moskovsky Propsect. A second franchise agreement, this time one signed by IHG and ADC Group Company, will bring a hotel of 129 rooms to the Ligovsky district of the city.

Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva To Open Next Year Return to Headlines
1 December is hotel management changeover day in the Swiss city of Geneva. The former Hilton hotel will come under the control of Kempinski Hotels on that date. The five-star property is currently closed for renovation, but it will reopen next year as the Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva. The first 230 guest rooms will open at the end of February and the full complement of 430 rooms will be available by the end of May.

Hotel Rath To Open As The Ashbourne Marriott Return to Headlines
Interstate Hotels & Resorts, which is one of the largest independent hotel management companies in the USA, announced in July that the Hotel Rath would be its first property in the Republic of Ireland. The 148-room hotel, which is being built in the town of Ashbourne, in Co. Meath, will be known as the Ashbourne Marriott Hotel when it opens early next year, after the hotel’s owners (a group of Irish investors that includes John McCabe and Paddy Kelly) signed a franchise agreement with Marriott International. The Ashbourne Marriott is Marriott International's fifth hotel in the Republic of Ireland.

Rica Hotels Acquires The Rica Hotel Göteborg Return to Headlines
The Swedish subsidiary of Norwegian operator Rica Hotels is to pay 35 million Swedish kronor (around €3.9 million) for the Rica Hotel Göteborg. The 97-room hotel, which stands in the city of Gothenburg, in southwestern Sweden, was sold by Svenska Stiftelsen för Frälsningsarmén (the Swedish Salvation Army foundation). The sound of tambourines rattling joyously will doubtless carry across the Baltic and enter the ears of guests filing into the newly opened 121-room Sofitel Grand Sopot. The three-star former Grand Hotel in the resort of Sopot, in Poland, spent the summer being renovated, at a cost of a reported €9.9 million, so that it could spend the autumn and many seasons to come enjoying life as a five-star product.

Curzon Park In Birmingham To Welcome A Hotel Return to Headlines
Grainger Trust and Development Securities have teamed up to buy the ten-acre Curzon Park site in the English city of Birmingham. The pair, which paid Eastside Partnership £33.5 million for the site, plan to begin work towards the end of 2007 on the construction of a mixed-use scheme (the gross development value is around £350 million) that will feature a 180-bed hotel. The project is expected to take up to eight years to complete.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 23/11/06-30/11/06

InterContinental Hotels Group - SG Cross Asset Research lowered its rating to 'Hold'.

Kingdom Hotel Investments - National Investor raised its target price from US$9.37 to US$10.90.

NH Hoteles - The share price fell on news that the company was issuing around 16 million new shares to boost its capital by some €250 million.