Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 7 July 2006
Abraaj And Ithmaar Launch The Serai Group
Le Meridien Will Come To Cairo Airport
Three Domina Inns For Egypt
Zanzibar: An Island Home For Mövenpick
Park Plaza Scores Again In Germany
AHG Venice Pushes The Boat Out To Win De Vere
HdV Licensed To Explore Scotland
Norgani Hotels Crosses The Finnish Line
Seven Tides Carries Away The Dukes Hotel
It's Q9
Barceló Back In Bulgaria

Abraaj And Ithmaar Launch The Serai Group
Abraaj Capital, an asset management firm from Dubai, has teamed up with Ithmaar Bank, of Bahrain, to launch a joint venture called The Serai Group, which, armed with equity of US$500 million, will develop and manage a chain of sharia-compliant hotels taking a Middle Eastern theme. The properties to be developed will fall into one of three brand categories: Caravan Serai, for the mass market; Serai Hotels, for the business traveller; and Grand Serai, for the luxury end of the market. The first hotel will be part of a mixed-use development in the district of Seef, in Bahrain. The Serai Group has as its chief executive Sami Zoghbi, formerly of Le Meridien and Sheraton Hotels.

Le Meridien Will Come To Cairo Airport Return to Headlines
Cairo International Airport, in Egypt, is getting a third terminal, and at that terminal will be the Le Meridien Cairo Airport. The 350-room hotel is due to open on 1 January 2009 and arrives courtesy of a management agreement signed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Airotel for Hotels & Tourism. This has been the second trip to Africa that Starwood has made recently in its drive to extend the reach of the Le Meridien brand. The company was in the Nigerian city of Lagos to sign a contract on the Le Meridien Grand Ikoyi Towers.

Three Domina Inns For Egypt Return to Headlines
Domina Hotel Group’s drive into Egypt continues with three more hotels. Two of the properties – the 305-room Domina Inn Pyramids and the 90-room Domina Inn Nile – will be open by the end of the year in western Cairo. The third property – the 101-room Domina Inn Luxor – will be taken by the southern town of Luxor.

Zanzibar: An Island Home For Mövenpick Return to Headlines
IFA Hotels & Resorts is working with Kingdom Hotel Investments on the development of a 220-room beach resort on the island of Zanzibar. Their work should be done by the end of this year. The pair have invited Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts to manage the resort, which will be known as the Mövenpick Resort & Spa – Zanzibar.

Park Plaza Scores Again In Germany Return to Headlines
Munich joins Berlin, Dresden and Trier as the latest city in Germany to have a Park Plaza hotel. The development firm KapHag is working on the four-star property at the Arnulfpark mixed-use development in the centre of the city. The resultant 250-room Park Plaza Munich will open in August 2008. But Park Plaza Hotels Europe has no intention of stopping there, as it is also keen on the cities of Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne.

AHG Venice Pushes The Boat Out To Win De Vere Return to Headlines
Takeover tennis. The investment vehicle AHG Venice versus Permira, the private equity firm. The prize? De Vere Group. In the last action before the weekend stopped play AHG Venice served up an offer of 850p a share, a stroke that made Permira hesitant. On the resumption of play, AHG Venice drew a Maskell-esque exclamation of “oh! I say” from watching analysts when it straightaway produced an ace: an offer of 875p a share, valuing De Vere Group at around £767.4 million. Permira could come up with nothing in return and the contest, which some thought might have lasted longer, ended. If no other challenge is forthcoming, then AHG Venice, which has already acquired a 28.4% stake, is likely to be chosen by De Vere Group as its champion. AHG Venice is led by Richard Balfour-Lynn and Uberior Ventures.

HdV Licensed To Explore Scotland Return to Headlines
Hotel du Vin (HdV) has played a quick one-two in Scotland. The boutique hotel chain’s first move came last month with the purchase of the luxury One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow. Move two has taken HdV to the capital Edinburgh where it is reported to have secured, for £2.4 million, a building that once housed a blood transfusion centre. The chain wants to convert the property, at a reported cost of £5 million, into a 47-room hotel and to have the hotel open in 2008. Scotland is likely to see more of HdV; the chain is said to be close to acquiring a site in Aberdeen and to be interested in the city of St Andrews, in Fife.

Norgani Hotels Crosses The Finnish Line Return to Headlines
The Norwegian firm Norgani Hotels is the second-largest owner of hotel property in Finland now that it has completed its acquisition of 15 hotels (2,913 rooms) owned by Kapiteeli, a Finnish property investment company. The purchase price, which included the €12 million paid for a sixteenth property, the Marina Congress Center in Helsinki, was €306 million. Ten of the hotels have the Scandic brand, the 512-room Scandic Continental Helsinki and the 263-room Scandic Tampere City being examples. The package includes the 192-room Hilton Helsinki Strand and the 238-room Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa.

Seven Tides Carries Away The Dukes Hotel Return to Headlines
Seven Tides, a real estate development firm based in Dubai, has acquired the Dukes Hotel from Townhouse Hotel Investments. The luxury 90-room property on St James’s Place, in central London, had a reported asking price of £40 million. And there is a new owner too for the three-star Best Western Dower House Hotel, which stands in the town of Knaresborough, in North Yorkshire. Martin Wicks is his name; he paid an undisclosed sum for the 31-room property, which had an asking price of £2.45 million.

It's Q9 Return to Headlines
What is QHotels going to do now? Acquire its ninth hotel in the UK, that’s what. That property is the 177-room Ashford International Hotel, in the town of Ashford, in Kent, which will be welcomed into the fold with a £5 million refurbishment. At the end of June QHotels completed the acquisition for £9.35 million of the eponymous company that owned the hotel.

Barceló Back In Bulgaria Return to Headlines
The Spanish chain Barceló Hotels and Resorts got its first taste of Bulgaria last autumn when it opened the 120-room Barceló Festa Sofia. The company has chosen for its second sample the resort of Slŭnchev Bryag on the Black Sea where Bulgarian firm Galaxy Property Group is building the Royal Garden hotel complex. The work will be finished next year and Barceló will be invited in to manage the five-star hotel that forms part of the mixed-use development. A five-star hotel will be one feature of a mixed-use scheme to be executed over the next three years by a group featuring Globe Trade Centre, the real estate subsidiary of investment firm Kardan. The €80 million project will cover 130 hectares of land in an unspecified beachfront location in southern Croatia.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 29/06/06-06/07/06

InterContinental Hotels Group - UBS named the company as one of its 'top picks' in the European hotel sector.

Millennium & Copthorne - Teather & Greenwood raised its rating from 'Hold' to 'Buy' and named a target price of 481p.

De Vere Group - Jefferies International has a 'Hold' rating and a target price of 875p. Jefferies sees AHG Venice's offer price of 875p as 'fair'.