HotelNewsNow.com each week features a news roundup from a different region of the world. Today’s review covers Europe.
Europe hotels post mixed performance
The European hotel industry posted mostly positive results in year-over-year metrics when reported in U.S. dollars, euros and British pounds for March 2012, according to data compiled by STR Global.
Travelodge appoints new CEO
U.K.-based Travelodge, which is undergoing a transition of ownership, has a new CEO with a familiar face. As of 20 April, Grant Hearn, who served as CEO for the company between 2003 and 2010, took the reins. He replaced Guy Parsons.
Puma Hotels’ Collection launches with 20-hotel portfolio
Earlier this month, Spanish company Barceló Group agreed to pay a penalty fee of £20.25 million ($32.9 million) after it pulled out of an agreement early to operate 20 hotels across the U.K. The hotels’ owner, London-based Puma Hotels, has resumed operation of the 4-star properties, with assistance from independent hotel management firm Chardon Management, and relaunched them on the market under its new group, Puma Hotels’ Collection, according to HVS.
Europe hotel development pipeline
The Europe hotel development pipeline comprises 879 hotels totaling 141,062 rooms, according to the March 2012 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report. Among the key markets in the region, Manchester, U.K., reported the largest expected growth (+27.7%) if all 3,611 rooms in the total active pipeline open.
Premier Inn secures eight construction sites
Premier Inn secured eight new hotel construction sites within a four-week period. The sites will deliver approximately 1,000 new bedrooms to Premier Inn’s secured development pipeline and take the company further towards its growth target of 65,000 U.K. bedrooms by 2016. The sites include a combination of freehold and leasehold developments. They are expected to be open and trading before the end of the financial year 2014/2015.
Azimut strengthens foothold in Russia
Russian hotel chain Azimut is rolling out a new refresh program throughout its 22-hotel portfolio in Russia and the rest of Europe. The first renovation will take place at Azimut’s largest hotel in St. Petersburg; upgrades in the property’s 1,050 rooms will be completed by June. The same month, the company will open its first hotel in the competitive Moscow market, which also will reflect the new “smart” concept, said CEO Remco Gerritsen.
Meliá bets on mega resort
Meliá Hotels International is on the cusp of opening a four-property resort on the island of Majorca in the Mediterranean. Dubbed the “Calviá Beach Resort by Sol Hotels,” the project involves refurbishing existing hotels managed by Meliá’s Sol brand in Magaluf, a beach town located in the southwestern municipality of Calviá. The resort is the first step in repositioning the island into a viable holiday destination for upscale travelers. In recent years the town has attracted mainly young Europeans seeking a low-cost holiday of cheap drinks and raunchy discotheques.
Whitbread gaining hotel sites amid Travelodge’s troubles
Whitbread PLC is seeing an uptick in interest from developers who are skittish to invest with troubled competitor Travelodge, according to Whitbread’s CEO Andy Harrison. “Travelodge is interesting,” he said Thursday during the company’s earnings call to discuss fiscal year results through 1 March. “We are seeing developers being naturally reluctant to continue growing with Travelodge and we’ve picked up a few sites, and we would expect that to continue.”
U.K.-based Travelodge is in the midst of a financial restructuring that will see transfer of ownership from Dubai International Capital to two equity houses.
Brands pursue global growth with renewed intensity
According to Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, the pace at which branded hotel companies are pursuing assets in new locations will reach a new focus and intensity in 2012. While Brazil, Russia, India and China (otherwise known as the BRIC nations) remain a key focus of international growth, several other high growth markets are offering an ever-expanding customer base and the opportunity for branded international expansion to more aggressively move beyond the BRICs. Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Turkey and Vietnam are just a few of the examples.
NH Hoteles refinances €729.8 million of debt
Spanish chain NH Hoteles successfully refinanced €729.8 million ($965.7 million) that was scheduled to mature within three to five years. The new agreement was signed by 33 banks holding 100% of the debt. The refinancing encompassed the balance outstanding under the syndicated loan arranged in August 2007 (€455 million, or $602 million) as well as virtually all the Group’s credit facilities (€275 million, or $364 million). NH Hoteles agreed to provide additional collateral with a view to successfully culminating the refinancing agreement.
Deal and development
- Pandox sold the 190-room business and conference hotel Ibis Hägersten in southern Stockholm for approximately $17 million.
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide reopened the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa in Edinburgh following a multimillion dollar renovation.
- Hilton Worldwide opened its fourth hotel in Rome, the 94-room Hilton Garden Inn Rome Claridge.
- Accor will open its second hotel in the U.K. with the MGallery Francis hotel in Bath. It follows a £6 million ($10 million) refurbishment of the Mercure Bath Francis hotel.
- After a complete six month and €23-million ($30-million) investment renovation project, Hilton Barcelona will reopen its doors early May 2012.
- The Rezidor Hotel Group announced the 91-room Park Inn by Radisson Glasgow City Centre, scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2013.
- Britannia Hotels exchanged contracts with De Vere Group for the purchase of two hotels in the U.K. for approximately £20 million ($32 million). Britannia has acquired the 140-room Royal Bath, on England’s south coast, and the 192-room De Vere Daresbury Park in Warrington, northwest England, according to HVS.
Compiled by Patrick Mayock.