Featured in this EMEA Hospitality Newsletter - Week Ending 24 March 2006
Blackstone Gathers HEBV
Butch Kerzner And The Buyout Bid
Nevskij Prospects
De Vere Slips Out Of Jersey
Sokotel To Acquire Holiday Club's Finnish Hotels
Reval Reveals A Second Hotel In Lithuania
Norgani Hotels Sells Its Smallest Property
Golden Tulip's Delft Ware
Wine Turned Into Resort By Lion
We Three Kings Refurbished Are
Hunguest Shows Its Hunger For Stake

Blackstone Gathers HEBV
The Financial Times quotes €650 million as the figure that private equity firm The Blackstone Group has paid for HEBV (Hospitality Europe BV). HEBV, which owns eight hotels (3,227 rooms) in Europe, revealed last October that it was deciding whether the interests of its shareholders would be best served by a sale of its assets or flotation on the stock market.

Butch Kerzner And The Buyout Bid Return to Headlines
Kerzner International, developer and operator of luxury hotels, resorts and casinos worldwide, wishes to go private. But will that treatment come at the hands of a consortium led by the company’s CEO Butch Kerzner and its chairman Sol Kerzner? For though the consortium, which includes existing shareholder Istithmar, said it would acquire Kerzner International for US$76 a share – thus valuing the company at some US$3.6 billion – it added that it would listen to any higher offer that might be made in the 45 days from 20 March 2006.

Nevskij Prospects Return to Headlines
Corinthia Hotels International has begun work on extending the Corinthia Nevskij Palace Hotel in the Russian city of St Petersburg. Each of the two buildings flanking the hotel is being demolished. One will make way for 105 executive bedrooms and a conference centre and the other for a shopping mall/office development. The work should be finished next year. Building work is over to the rear of the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal in the Hungarian capital Budapest. The result is the Royal Residence, a set of 26 serviced apartments built for €1.5 million.

De Vere Slips Out Of Jersey Return to Headlines
De Vere Group expects to sell the De Vere Grand before the end of April. The Fund of Delancey will be paying £15.55 million for the 118-room hotel in St Helier, on the island of Jersey. De Vere Group’s portfolio will maintain its equilibrium with the arrival, subject to planning permission, of the latest Village Hotel & Leisure Club. The town of Farnborough, in Hampshire, is to be the recipient. De Vere Group is at an advanced stage in its negotiations on four other sites.

Sokotel To Acquire Holiday Club's Finnish Hotels Return to Headlines
Sokotel, the hotel arm of the SOK Corporation in Finland, expects to take ownership by the end of April of the six spa hotels in Finland that form part of the Holiday Club Finland chain. The properties in Turku, Vuokatti (Holiday Club Katinkulta), Kuusamo, Oulu, Saariselkä and Tampere have a total of 816 rooms and will keep their Holiday Club name. Holiday Club Finland can use the money (how much Sokotel paid, it did not say) to fund further expansion both at home and abroad.

Reval Reveals A Second Hotel In Lithuania Return to Headlines
Norwegian property developer Linstow has acquired the Hotel Takioji Neris and intends the property to be hotel number eight in its Reval Hotels portfolio. The property in the city of Kaunas in Lithuania will close for renovation this October and will reopen in May 2007 as the 190-room Reval Hotel Neris. Reval Hotels is already present in Lithuania with the 291-room Reval Hotel Lietuva in the capital Vilnius.

Norgani Hotels Sells Its Smallest Property Return to Headlines
Norwegian hotel property company Norgani Hotels has decided to sell the smallest of its 64 hotels: the Comfort Hotel Nobel. The hotel in the Norwegian town of Molde may be small – it has only 49 rooms – but readers will be pleased to hear that it is loved; the hotel’s operator and a group of unnamed investors will be paying 23.5 million Norwegian kroner (around €3 million) for the property. The cheque will be among the last to be handled by Norgani’s chief financial officer Helge Nerland; he will be leaving the company on 30 June.

Golden Tulip's Delft Ware Return to Headlines
Those who work for IKEA might at some point in their career find themselves visiting the company’s business college at the IKEA Concept Center in the Dutch town of Delft. But after a day spent in contemplation of a new range of lampshades or learning how to assemble the latest bookcase, many a previous attendee has faced the greater challenge of finding hotel accommodation. Inter IKEA Systems has noticed this, and has engaged Golden Tulip Hospitality to work with it on a solution. And so if the developers correctly locate retaining bolt ‘A’ and ensure that groove ‘E’ marries snugly with lug ‘F’ they should come up with a hotel that matches the illustration. That hotel will be the 140-room Tulip Inn Delft, which is due to open next to the IKEA Concept Center at the end of 2007.

Wine Turned Into Resort By Lion Return to Headlines
Lion Resorts is to develop a third resort on the island of Cyprus. The company and the construction firm Kouroushi Group are on the beachfront in Paphos, where they will work together on raising a 100-room, four-star boutique hotel and 86 time-share suites. The resort, which is due to open in 2008, is being fashioned from the former Sodap wine-producing facility. Spanish chain Barceló Hotels & Resorts is also in the mood for a sniff of ozone; its nostrils are flaring on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, where it has opened the 85-room Barceló Casablanca, its first hotel in the country.

We Three Kings Refurbished Are Return to Headlines
Monday 20 March dawned brightly in the Swiss city of Basle; perhaps it was due to the light from the 1,763 lamps installed as part of the 20-month renovation of the luxury 101-room hotel Les Trois Rois, which reopened at 06.00 local time. One can turn away from the bright lights and head for the big city of Turin in neighbouring Italy. NH Hoteles is already there with what is its second hotel in the country: the 125-room, four-star NH Santo Stefano.

Hunguest Shows Its Hunger For Stake Return to Headlines
Hungarian chain Hunguest Hotels is reported to have acquired (for an undisclosed sum) a 33% stake in HTP Boka, a hotel operator owned by the government of Montenegro. Reports indicate that Hunguest will bid for the remaining shares. Hunguest already has two hotels in Montenegro. One of them – the Hunguest Hotel Sun Resort, in the coastal town of Herceg Novi – is in line for renovation work costing a reported €11 million.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 16/03/06-23/03/06

De Vere Group - The company confirmed that it had received a preliminary approach. Some sources suggested that the approach may have been made by NH Hoteles.

InterContinental Hotels Group - The rumours surrounding De Vere helped boost shares elsewhere in the hotel sector.

Accor - Deutsche Bank raised its target price from €43 to €48.