Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 24 February 2006
Banyan Tree To Manage The Al Gurm Resort
Nakheel Launches Nakheel Hotel & Resorts
Golden Tulip's On The March In Morocco In March
Final Finals Under The Hilton Group Name
Merrill Lynch Is Pirelli's Pin-Up For February
New Town For QHotels
Kempinski Sights The Crescent Of The Palm
Accor Heads For Edinburgh
Full-Year Results From Millennium & Copthorne

Banyan Tree To Manage The Al Gurm Resort
In its role as facilitator, HVS International has advised Aldar Properties on a deal that has seen the real estate developer sign up the Banyan Tree Group to manage the Al Gurm resort in Abu Dhabi. The island resort will offer guests the choice of a luxury 161-room hotel, 90 chalets and 71 suites when it opens in 2007. Hailing Al Gurm as the first resort of its kind in the Middle East, Ambrish Baisiwala, Aldar Properties’ Head of Development and Asset Management, said that his company’s partnership with Banyan Tree would add to the attractions of the project. Elie Younes, a director at HVS International’s London office, called the deal “a milestone for Abu Dhabi”. He added that the blend of Aldar and Banyan Tree would ensure the successful development and operation of the property.

Nakheel Launches Nakheel Hotel & Resorts Return to Headlines
Nakheel, the developer of projects such as The Palm, has launched an investment company called Nakheel Hotel & Resorts. The company has already taken into its portfolio the likes of The Trump Hotel & Tower Palm Jumeirah and a 400-room hotel and resort in the East African state of Djibouti. Nakheel Hotel & Resorts plans to expand through a mix of acquisition, franchising and development, and has named the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Russia and the CIS as its target locations. The new company has appointed James Wilson as its chief executive.

Golden Tulip's On The March In Morocco In March Return to Headlines
Golden Tulip Hotels will in one fell swoop take its presence in Morocco from zero hotels to five on 1 March. The company is to add the Golden Tulip name to each of the five properties that make up the Farah Hotels chain. The two five-star hotels in the portfolio will be the 193-room Golden Tulip Farah Rabat and the 94-room Golden Tulip Farah Safi. The other three properties – the 242-room Golden Tulip Farah Marrakech, the 305-room Golden Tulip Farah Casablanca and the 78-room Golden Tulip Farah Khouribga – are all rated four-star.

Final Finals Under The Hilton Group Name Return to Headlines
The sale of Hilton International to Hilton Hotels Corporation (HHC) completed on 23 February and as a result, and as planned, the Hilton Group name changed to Ladbrokes. The company’s final act under its old name was to publish a set of financials for the year to 31 December 2005. This showed that group pre-tax profit before non-trading items had increased by 9.9%, to £413.9 million, and that group turnover had risen by 13.6%, to £11.5 billion. HHC inherits a set of hotels that returned a pre-tax profit of £182.3 million (up 19.8% on the previous year) and total RevPAR of £48.43 (up 7.2% on the previous year). Shareholders in the former Hilton Group will probably observe 23 February as a feast day in years to come; they are set to share in a cash return of up to £4.2 billion early in the second quarter of 2006.

Merrill Lynch Is Pirelli's Pin-Up For February Return to Headlines
Pirelli RE is to contribute 35% of the equity to a new joint venture that the Italian firm has formed with the Global Principal Investments arm of investment bank Merrill Lynch. The joint venture has been set up to invest over five years a maximum of €1.5 billion in the hotel and resort market in Italy.

New Town For QHotels Return to Headlines
QHotels’ seven hotels in England now have a cousin in Scotland. The company was north of the border to pay an undisclosed sum (one report suggests a figure of £15 million) to Morton Properties (Dundee) for The Westerwood Hotel. The 100-room, four-star hotel in the town of Cumbernauld can expect to undergo a £5 million renovation, should planning permission be secured. One of QHotels’ seven English hotels – Norton Manor, near Winchester – has cleared a similar planning hurdle and is now free to indulge between March 2006 and January 2007 in a programme of refurbishment. The work, which will cost £11 million, will raise the hotel’s room count from 97 to 185 and will include the creation of a new conference centre.

Kempinski Sights The Crescent Of The Palm Return to Headlines
The Palm, Jumeirah development in the emirate of Dubai is set for a double helping of Kempinski Hotels. A portion of the development’s crescent has been reserved for the Kempinski Palm Jumeirah Residences, which will open its 200 units in 2008. The following year will see the arrival on the same plot of the Emerald Palace Kempinski, a hotel with 250 rooms. The Emerald Palace Group developed these two luxury properties.

Accor Heads For Edinburgh Return to Headlines
Accor’s second Novotel in the Scottish capital Edinburgh will be the Novotel Edinburgh Park. The 170-room hotel, which is owned by Edinburgh Branded Hotel and Leisure, is due to open in late 2007. Meanwhile, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has made an incision in the three-star hotel sector. Ten Hill Place, a 77-room hotel, is due to open by the end of this year as part of a £14 million complex to the rear of Surgeons’ Hall that includes a conference centre. Elsewhere in Scotland, the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre is reported to have applied for permission to build a 192-room, four-star hotel on its premises.

Full-Year Results From Millennium & Copthorne Return to Headlines
Millennium & Copthorne (M&C) has issued its results for the year to 31 December 2005. Over the 12 months the company recorded a 5.3% rise in pre-tax profit, to £95.8 million, and an 8.0% increase in turnover, to £595.2 million. M&C’s portfolio of 91 hotels worldwide saw RevPAR grow by 7.4% to finish on £46.73.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 16/02/06-23/02/06

Whitbread - Numis placed a 'Buy' rating on the stock.

Hilton Group - The share price slipped on news of a weak performance from Ladbrokes. Merrill Lynch has a 'Neutral' rating.

Millennium & Copthorne - Credit Suisse kept its 'Outperform' rating as M&C's earnings came in ahead of market expectations. Citigroup retained its 'Hold' rating and maintained its target price of 400p.