HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 14 September 2007

The latest hospitality news from Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Proposed Norgani Takeover Could Be As Easy As ABC

The competition to see which company might take over Norgani Hotels was as exciting as any two-horse race can be. Norwegian Property was the first to show, making an offer on 30 August of NKr82.5 (approximately €10.4) for each share in Norgani, which, with more than 70 hotels in the Nordic region, has grown to become the fifth-largest hotel property investor in Europe. Norgani’s stewards did not think much of this offer – Norwegian Property subsequently pulled out of the running – and so were pleased when rival suitor Aberdeen Bid Company (ABC) took up the running with an offer of NKr88.5 (€11.2). ABC is a vehicle for Aberdeen Property Investors, which if it were successful would create from Norgani a fund that would invest in hotels throughout Europe. An additional outcome from a favourable result would be the sale by ABC to Swedish firm Home Properties of six hotels from the Norgani portfolio. One report suggests that these would be five hotels in Finland and one in the Norwegian capital Oslo.

"Citizen Mobile" Ready To Roam Europe

“Affordable luxury for the people”: not some idle Citizen Smith-esque slogan echoing around Tooting but the rallying call, just audible above the jets at Schiphol airport, of citizenM – the new name for Dutch hotel group Onestarisborn. CitizenM is short for “citizen mobile”: the company’s description of the type of modern traveller that it hopes will be frequenting its first hotel, which is due to open its 230 rooms at the airport in Amsterdam at the start of next year. Expect to see the second of these prefabricated properties arrive in the same city later on in 2008. The first phase of the roll-out will introduce a total of 20 hotels, each of between 100 and 300 rooms, to European cities including London, Glasgow, Barcelona, Brussels and Berlin.

Red Roof Inn Out

Accor has completed the sale of its North American chain Red Roof Inn. The company announced in April that it had agreed to sell the budget hotels to a consortium formed by Westbridge Hospitality Fund (a partnership formed between Westmont Hospitality Group and a number of Canadian pension fund managers) and Global Special Situations Group, which is part of Citigroup Global Markets Holdings. Accor, which is now free to concentrate on Motel 6, its other budget chain in the region, received a touch over US$1.3 billion for the 341 Red Roof Inn hotels (36,683 rooms).

Dubai World Meets East African World

The government of Dubai, through its wholly owned Dubai World, has linked up with the government of Comoros to form Dubai World Comoros. This partnership is to invest US$70 million in the refurbishment of the 150-room Le Galawa Beach Hotel and the redevelopment of 22.5 hectares of adjacent land into a mixed-use resort featuring, among other facilities, 100 residential villas and town houses, a spa and a water sports centre. The hotel, which was formerly owned by Sun International, stands on Grande Comore, one of the three main islands that form the republic of Comoros, which lies off the coast of Mozambique. Work on the project is to start this October and the resort should be ready to open in early 2009.

Golden Tulip Brings 1,000 Rooms To Ajman

One thousand rooms: Golden Tulip Hospitality had never had a hotel of that magnitude in its portfolio until it signed a management agreement on the Golden Tulip Ajman. The property, a mix of four-star and five-star accommodation, will be built in two phases in the emirate of Ajman. The first phase will see the construction of three towers containing suites and apartments; these rooms will be ready in early 2008. The second phase will bring Ajman its first revolving restaurant, which will make its stately turns within a 550-room building that is set to open in the second quarter of 2009.

Holiday Inn Bur Dubai Now Booked

InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) first Sharia-compliant property in the United Arab Emirates will be the Holiday Inn Bur Dubai. IHG will develop the 400-room hotel, which is set to open in the emirate of Dubai in the second half of 2008, in partnership with the Dubai-based Al Yaquob Group; the two are working on a number of projects in the region. IHG wants to have a total of 23 Holiday Inn hotels across the Middle East and Africa region by the end of 2010.

Oberoi: Ideal For The Beach Or The Island

Aldar Properties has signed an agreement that gives the company the exclusive right to develop hotels with the luxury Oberoi brand in its home emirate of Abu Dhabi. Indian firm Oberoi Hotels & Resorts is already present in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and will extend its presence in the Middle East with one hotel at the Yas Island development and one at Al Raha Beach.

Angsana Livens Up The Dead Sea

To the five properties with the Angsana brand currently under development in the Middle East must be added a sixth: the Angsana Resort and Spa Dead Sea, in Jordan. Banyan Tree Holdings, of Singapore, has signed a management agreement on the property, which is being developed by Belavista Overseas Investment Corporation. When it is finished in 2011 the property will have 220 rooms and offer for sale 256 residential apartments.

Libya Plans World's Largest Ecofriendly Resort

Other countries’ faces will be as green as the Libyan flag if plans that the government of Libya has for the creation of the world’s largest ecofriendly tourist resort are fully realised. The “Green Mountain Sustainable Development Area” covers 2,000 square miles of land between the cities of Benghazi and Tobruk on Libya’s northeastern coastline, an area that could be filled with more than 20 luxury hotels. One report suggests that three hotels will be built initially and that these will be financed by a private company led by Libyan oilman Hassan Tatanaki. The project as a whole is set to cost a reported US$3 billion, with the Libyan government footing the bill.

Hotel In Store For Aberdeen

Scottish developer C&L Properties has paid Dawnay, Day Properties a reported £5.5 million for the Esslemont and Macintosh (E&M) department store in the city of Aberdeen, in northeast Scotland. C&L is to apply next month for permission to convert the two halves of the disused five-storey building, from which E&M had traded for 135 years to this May, into a 120-room, four-star hotel with retail outlets beneath.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 6-13 September 2007

Accor - The share price edged higher as Morgan Stanley reiterated its 'Over-weight' rating and raised its target price from €75 to €76.

Whitbread - Renewed takeover rumours circulated the market.

NH Hoteles - The company's share price was among those that recovered strongly after last week's general fall across the Ibex-35.

For the latest in the hospitality industry, please visit: http://www.hvs.com. You are also welcome to contact the following personnel.

Russell Kett, Managing Directorrkett@hvs.com
Charles Human, Managing Dir., HVS HWEchuman@hvshwe.com
Dominique Bourdais, Directordbourdais@hvs.com
Bernard Forster, Directorbforster@hvs.com
Karen Smith, Directorksmith@hvs.com
Marc Finney, Directormfinney@hvs.com
Christopher Mumford, Managing Dir., Executive Searchcmumford@hvs.com
Philip Bacon, Managing Dir. EMEA & Asia, HVS Shared Ownership Servicespbacon@hvs.com
Adrian Jones, EMEA Hospitality Enews Authorajones@hvs.com