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Global hotel pulse: Europe news
January 10 2012

Company mergers and acquisitions—some completed, some proposed, some called off—highlight this roundup of news from the European hotel industry.

Highlights
  • Spain’s Iberostar Hotels & Resorts reached an agreement with Thomas Cook to purchase the British company’s 51% share in five hotels and a golf course for €94 million (US$120 million).
  • HNA Group has pulled out of its previously agreed upon deal with Spanish hotel chain NH Hoteles because of economic volatility.
  • HNA Group later in the month put in a bid to buy Aman Resorts, the biggest non-core asset of realty major DLF.

November hotel performance
The European hotel industry posted positive results in year-over-year metrics when reported in U.S. dollars, euros and British pounds for November 2011, according to data compiled by STR Global, sister company of HotelNewsNow.com. 

 

Year-over-year, November 2011 figures 
for Europe (U.S. dollars, euros and British pounds):

   
  Europe % change
 Occupancy  65.9%  +1.7%
 ADR (U.S. dollars)  $131  +1.7%
 ADR (euros)  €98.24  +0.6%
 ADR (British pounds)  £84.21  +1.9%
 RevPAR (U.S. dollars)  $86.29  +3.5%
 RevPAR (euros)  €64.71  +2.3%
 RevPAR (British pounds)  £55.47  +3.6%
Source: STR Global    

 

“European hotel performance continued to hold on with slight increases in occupancy and average room rate compared to November 2010,” said Elizabeth Randall, managing director of STR Global, said in a news release. “Despite a weakening in the wider economic environment, demand is still up, growing 4.4% last month. With the year coming to a close, European hoteliers reported 6% RevPAR growth for the 11 months this year when measured in euros, almost equally driven by occupancy and ADR increases. The second half definitely showed softening and weaker year-on-year growth resulting from the stronger growth levels we saw in the latter half of 2010”.

Iberostar inks US$120m deal with Thomas Cook
Spain’s Iberostar Hotels & Resorts reached an agreement with Thomas Cook to purchase the British company’s 51% share in five hotels and a golf course for €94 million (US$120 million) as the troubled tour operator sheds non-core assets.

Three of the properties—Royal Cupido, Royal Cristina and Royal Playa de Palma—are located on the Spanish Mediterranean resort island of Majorca, while the two others—Royal Andalus and Andalucia Playa—are in the southern mainland province of Cadiz.

All are 4-star resort properties and total 1,355 rooms.

“These are hotels which we have been managing for 16 years situated in key destinations, and we know they will fit perfectly with the chain’s profile and the needs of our guests,” Grupo Iberostar CEO Jose Antonio González said in a statement.

HNA calls off €431.6m deal with NH Hoteles
HNA Group has pulled out of its previously agreed upon deal with Spanish hotel chain NH Hoteles because of economic volatility.

The deal, which was signed in May 2011 and subject to mandatory approvals from the Chinese government, would have had the China-based tourism and airline group acquire a 20% holding in NH Hoteles totaling €431.6 million (then US$594 million), including a capital increase at a price of €7 per share (then US$9.87 per share).

The agreement also would have allowed for the two groups to pursue a joint venture for managing hotels in China.

But as macroeconomic uncertainty continued to plague the euro zone throughout the year, HNA showed signs of hesitation. The group during October changed the conditions of the deal, cutting the share price of a capital increase to €5.35 (US$6.84) per share. HNA cited the drop in NH Hoteles' (http://corporate-information.nh-hotels.com/wda/eng/) share price as the reason behind the change of terms, HotelNewsNow.com reported.

And as things continued to worsen, HNA decided not to complete the execution of the investment agreement, according to a news release.

HNA bids for Aman Resorts
HNA Group later in the month put in a bid to buy Aman Resorts, the biggest non-core asset of realty major DLF, according to the Business Standard

DLF, the largest realtor in the country by market capitalization, is expected to announce the Aman Resort deal by mid January. Goldman Sachs and Citi Group are advising the dealit. The founder of Aman Resorts, Adrian Zecha, will be a part of the final decision, a person close to the development said.

DLF had bought a 97% stake in the company for a valuation of US$400 million (INRRs 2,120 crore according to the current rupee value) in 2007, during the realty boom, while the remaining 3% remained with Zecha. Since the downturn in the sector, DLF has been looking for a buyer for this property.

Europe hotel pipeline
The Europe hotel development pipeline comprises 869 hotels totaling 139,006 rooms, according to the November 2011 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report

Among the chain-scale segments, the upscale segment accounted for the largest portion of rooms in the region’s total active pipeline with 21.8% and 30,369 rooms. Three other segments each made up more than 10% of rooms in the total active pipeline: the upper-midscale segment (19.2% with 26,726 rooms); the unaffiliated segment (19.2% with 26,755 rooms); and the upper-upscale segment (15% with 20,802 rooms).

Hoteliers: Italy’s new tourism code misses the mark
Italy’s recently implement Code of Tourism, which was designed to streamline the bureaucratic hurdles that have long plagued the hotel industry, largely has missed the mark, according to hoteliers.

The Code aimed to reorder and reform tourist legislation in a country where rules and regulations are so numerous and so complex that the sector’s development and competitiveness suffer as a result. One archaic example of tourist legislation: There still exists a law from the 1925 King’s Decree prescribing the installation of spittoons in each hotel room as well as in common spaces.

Other problems surround inconsistencies between state and city. If the state says a thingone thing and then the region says another, the hotelier is in a difficult position because he doesn’t know who to listen to, said Filippo Donati, president of hotel association Asshotel.

Rezidor announces management changes
Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel Group is separating responsibilities of its Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson brands at the area VP level in an effort to boost efficiency and bolster development of each. The plan calls for strengthened and consistent teams of area specialists in finance & and control, information technologyIT, purchasing, human resourcesHR, sales and& marketing, revenue management and technical development.

Deals and developments
• Budget chain Travelodge will open 41 new hotels with 3,610 rooms across the United Kingdom, reports Caterer and Hotelkeeper. The new properties, at an investment of £246 million (US$380 million), will boost the company's portfolio to 537 hotels and more than 39,000 rooms. Earlier in the month, the company announced it had added 146 new U.K. locations to its target requirement list.
• New York-based Chatwal Hotels & Resorts plans to expand into India and operate approximately 100 hotels during the next 10 years in partnership with Wyndham Hotel Group, reports The Economic Times.
• Ritz-Carlton announced its first hotel in Vienna—a 202-room property located between two 19th century palaces that are listed as culturally protected properties in Austria.
• The Rezidor Hotel Group rebranded the former Mövenpick Hotel Lübeck in Germany: Since 1 January, the 197-room property trades under the new name Park Inn by Radisson Lübeck.
• Rezidor also announced the 80-suite Hotel Missoni Mauritius overlooking the village of Baie du Cap in Mauritius.
• InterContinental Hotels Group will return to Russia after a 10-year absence with the opening of the 203-room InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya.
• Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company announced the opening of Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi—located at the city’s premium business address on the top floors of the iconic Capital Gate building.
• DoubleTree by Hilton announced the opening of the DoubleTree by Hilton London-Tower of London and DoubleTree by Hilton London-Westminster. The hotels are two of eight Mint Hotels across the Netherlands and the U.K. joining the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of hotels under the DoubleTree by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn brand names during the coming months.
Hilton also opened two hotels at the Frankfurt Airport: Hilton Frankfurt Airport and Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport, part of the renowned, futuristic TheHE SquaireQUAIRE complex.

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