HVS EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending 29 February 2008

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

Hotusa Celebrates Independent's Day

Hotusa Group, of Spain, has made a cross-border raid to take ownership of Elysées West Hôtels, which has a chain of 92 independent hotels in its native France. No financial details were disclosed. The acquisition means that Hotusa Group, through its Hotusa Hotels subsidiary, now has a portfolio of more than 200 associated hotels in France.

Ritz-Carlton Destined To Replace Hilton On The Nile

When Hilton’s contract to manage the Nile Hilton, in Egypt, comes to a close (at the end of this year, says one report), The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company will be waiting at the door, armed with a management agreement of its own. Ritz-Carlton has signed a letter of intent with Misr Hotels that will see the 431-room hotel take the name The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo. In addition, the two signatories will work together on the hotel’s renovation. The 321-room Ritz-Carlton, Sharm el Sheikh is at present Ritz-Carlton’s only hotel in Egypt.

Mövenpick Settles Into Aswan; Prepares For Damascus

The Pyramids and the Sphinx weren’t just run up in a day, you know. It takes time to craft a work of art in Egypt. Just ask Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts. It is almost four years since Mövenpick leapt ashore (from one of its Nile cruisers, perhaps) onto Elephantine Island near the southern city of Aswan at the behest of Egyptian General Company for Tourism & Hotels. And in those four years the former Aswan Oberoi has been lovingly restored and transformed into the 234-room, five-star Mövenpick Resort Aswan. An extension, to be completed by 2010, will add 160 guest rooms, restaurants, bars and a conference centre. 2010 should see the completion too of the five-star Mövenpick Hotel Damascus in the capital of Syria. Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has signed a management agreement with Toumeh International Group on the 268-room hotel, which will be part of a shopping complex.

Corinthia To Take A Trip To Benghazi

Corinthia Hotels International (CHI) will get to see what the Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel, in Tripoli, looks like when viewed from afar when the company ventures eastwards along the coast of Libya to operate a hotel in the city of Benghazi. CHI’s parent International Hotel Investments is to build the 360-room, five-star hotel in partnership with Libyan Foreign Investment Company. Construction work is set to begin later this year on a 7,000 m² portion of a waterfront site occupied by the former Al Jazira Hotel.

Rezidor Heads For Kenya

On safari in Kenya? Then be prepared for a novel sight in the eyepieces of your binoculars: the big game of Rezidor Hotel Group. Rev up that jeep and follow the company as it makes tracks for the Upper Hill district of the capital Nairobi, there to feast on a management contract for a hotel that is set to open in early 2010. The Radisson Hotel Nairobi, which is owned by Elgon Road Developments, will have 244 rooms.

Flying V… Hits The New Greece

There is no reason why the new Greece – that is, the chunk of The World development off the coast of Dubai that will represent Greece – should not have its own legends. The first will tell of a European aristocrat, Baron Jean van Gysel de Meise, who seduced the Spanish village of Vejer de la Frontera with his boutique hotel brand V… before heading on an odyssey eastwards to enchant The World with the same brand. V…Greece on The World will have 65 luxurious rooms where investors in the hotel can stay for up to two months a year. Work to build the hotel, which is valued at a reported Dh624 million (US$170 million), is to start at the end of 2008. Baron de Meise, who also owns the five-star Hotel Le Plaza in the Belgian capital Brussels, wants to build one V… hotel in the Middle East every year for the next five years.

Garden Inn Bolognese

What is the Hilton Garden Inn brand cooking up next for Italy? Well, a little something on the outskirts of the northern city of Bologna. The 152-room Hilton Garden Inn Bologna/San Lazzaro will be ready to serve this September, after Hilton Hotels Corporation signed a franchise agreement with Dimatour, the management arm of hotel owner Gruppo Di Mario. Hilton Garden Inn has already brought to table hotels in Rome, Florence and Matera, and has two in the oven for Bari and Lecce.

Folio Puts The Port In Portfolio

Last year Folio Hotels paid Your Space a reported £2.85 million for the Heywoods Building in the centre of Liverpool. In the year the Grade II listed building was in the hands of Your Space, the developer renovated it with plans for a boutique hotel in mind. Folio Hotels, which has more than 30 three-star and four-star hotels in the UK, but not yet one in Liverpool, will continue with the refurbishment work and will look to have a 36-room, four-star hotel open before Christmas. To have a hotel within its walls will be a refreshing change for the Heywoods Building; in its 200 years it has welcomed nothing but a succession of banks.

Courtyard Comes To Belfast

The (Northern) Irish charm of Culzean Holdings that has already won over Express by Holiday Inn and Ramada Encore has now tempted the Courtyard by Marriott brand into entering Northern Ireland. Marriott International will manage the 169-room Courtyard by Marriott Belfast, which will be the third Courtyard by Marriott hotel in the UK when it opens in 2010 at Culzean’s mixed-use development the Gasworks. Work on the hotel, which will cost a reported £25 million, will start this October.

Home Properties Makes Plans For Its Plot

At its home in Sweden, Home Properties, the hotel property company, has paid the development company Älvstranden Utveckling around SKr18 million (roughly €2 million) for a 12,000 m² plot of land in the city of Gothenburg. Home Properties will cultivate the land and grow on it a hotel of around 250 rooms for Choice Hotels Scandinavia. Home Properties already has a 215-room hotel in Gothenburg and is converting the city’s central post office into a hotel too.

Accor Reports Its Full-Year Figures

When announcing last month its full-year revenue (of €8.1 billion, incidentally), Accor noted that it had raised its expectations for the corresponding pre-tax operating profit from the €870 million to €890 million range quoted the previous August to a figure “slightly above” €900 million. Whichever member of the board was holding the crystal ball that day should be permitted to wear the spangly headscarf and earrings permanently; for this month Accor revealed that pre-tax operating profit for the year to 31 December 2007 was €907 million, a like-for-like increase of 21.6%. RevPAR at the company’s upscale and midscale hotels in Europe (with hotels in France excluded) was €68.90. The corresponding amount in the European economy hotels (again, with hotels in France excluded) was €47.25.

Up-To-Date With Whitbread

Are the sales set fair at Whitbread? Let us check with Parker (Alan Parker, the company’s chief executive). The answer must be “yes”, for he says: “These results show that trading in our businesses has been resilient and we continue to perform well.” The results cover the 50 weeks to 14 February 2008 and they show that the Premier Inn hotels returned like-for-like sales growth of 10.5%. Like-for-like growth for Whitbread as a whole was 5.7%. Whitbread revealed too that it is to combine the managerial divisions of its hotel and restaurant businesses as part of an effort designed to make a saving of £25 million in 2009/10.

Ah Sol Meliá, Excellent

Sol Meliá pronounced its results for the year ending 31 December 2007 “excellent”, adding that it expected to repeat the performance in 2008. Such excellence was thanks largely to the company’s resorts business. Sol Meliá's net profit rose by 18.7%, to €161.9 million, and revenue was up by 7.2% on the previous year’s comparable, at around €1.3 billion. Marketwide RevPAR grew by 6.0% to finish on €54.90.

Trust NH Hoteles To Cope

“Alas, a slowdown. Oh, my goodness, I can’t cope,” you might cry as you fall into a swoon. In the past you might have come round to find NH Hoteles spread-eagled on the floor beside you. But the Spaniard is better prepared to cope in a slowdown than it has previously been and so this time it will be there to prevent your head from bruising the lino. And rather than a noseful of ammonia to revivify you, NH Hoteles will administer instead an eyeful of its results for the year to 31 December 2007. How the colour will return to your cheeks when you see that EBITDA has risen by 49.8%, to €283.0 million, and revenue by 38.0%, to €1.5 billion. And you’ll be brought to your feet by like-for-like RevPAR growth of 6.0% in Benelux and 5.4% in Spain.

HVS Hopes To See You In Berlin

Those attending next week's hotel investment conference in Berlin will no doubt meet all their HVS friends at the InterContinental hotel when, among other things, we formally launch two of our annual publications – the European Hotel Valuation Index and our European Transactions report. Copies of both publications will be available from the HVS booth in the exhibition area. For those not able to be with us in Berlin, the two publications will be available from our website and we will send you a special email and weblink once each one is launched.

Absolute Share Price Performance Over the Past Week 21-28 February 2008

Whitbread - The company's trading update pleased analysts. Panmure, for example, placed a 'Buy' rating.

Millennium & Copthorne - Citigroup gave a 'Hold' rating and raised its target price from 380p to 430p.

Sol Meliá - Jefferies International placed a 'Hold' rating and gave a target price of €11.30 ahead of the company's results.

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 Director rkett@hvs.com
Charles Human, Managing Director – HVS HWE chuman@hvshwe.com
Dominique Bourdais, Director dbourdais@hvs.com
Karen Smith, Director ksmith@hvs.com
Marc Finney, Director mfinney@hvs.com
Hadrien Pujol, Director hpujol@hvs.com
Demetris Spanos, Managing Director – HVS Athens dspanos@hvs.com
Christopher Mumford, Managing Director – Executive Search cmumford@hvs.com
Philip Bacon, Managing Director – HVS Madrid and Managing Director, EMEA & Asia – HVS Shared Ownership Services pbacon@hvs.com
Adrian Jones, EMEA Hospitality Enews Author ajones@hvs.com