5 things to know: 19 May 2017
5 things to know: 19 May 2017
19 MAY 2017 9:49 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Trump takes off for first foreign trip as president
  • Enjoy S.A. to hold 100% ownership in Punta Del Este Conrad
  • Gauging brand success key for owners and operators
  • Tsogo Sun Holdings trades hotels for higher stake
  • HotelInvest granted board approval to separate from Accor

Trump takes off for first foreign trip as president: President Donald Trump will embark on his first five-country trip since taking office to meet with important figures in the Middle East and Europe, according to an ABC News report. 

Pope Francis reportedly commented on Trump’s visit last weekend, “saying he would not judge the controversial president despite diverging views on a number of issues, including climate change and immigration,” ABC reports.

Trump will begin his trek in Saudi Arabia, following with visits to Israel, Italy, Vatican City and Belgium. On Monday, The King David Hotel, in Jerusalem—which has hosted the likes of emperors, kings and prime ministers in its 85-year history—will also host Trump, according to Reuters. Trump will hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu among others.

Enjoy S.A. to hold 100% ownership in Punta Del Este Conrad: Caesars Entertainment Corporation and Caesars Entertainment Operating Company announced today that Enjoy S.A. has gained 100% ownership in the Punta del Este Conrad after Baluma Holdings, a non-debtor foreign subsidiary of CEOC, sold its 55% share in the property, according to a news release.

Baluma Holdings received net proceeds from the sale of approximately $180 million “after distributions to certain minority investors,” the release states. The company received a $14.7 million deposit during February and the balance of the proceeds on Tuesday.

The sale, according to the release, is a result of Enjoy S.A.—which previously owned 45% stake in Punta del Este Conrad—exercising its right to acquire “the remaining shares in the property between years three and five of the relationship.”

Gauging brand success key for owners and operators: Hotel owners and management companies looking to add value to assets and operations need to have enforceable, meaningful performance testing, which will allow both sides to better perform in their roles, according to panelists at the Hotel Operating Agreements conference. Hotel News Now’s Terence Baker was in London this week to cover the conference.

“We need to focus more on profit margins, but (brands) also look to the procurement side of things, providing services to owners that drive costs out of their assets. There are both offensive and defensive elements in choosing a brand,” said Graham Dodd, senior director of development, United Kingdom and Ireland, at Hilton Worldwide. “Brands drive more business in good times, probably little less in downtimes.”

Tsogo Sun Holdings trades hotels for higher stake: South Africa’s Tsogo Sun Holdings reportedly sold 29 hotels to Hospitality Property Fund for a 3.6 billion South African rand ($271.9 million) combination of cash and shares, Reuters reports. Tsogo’s strategy is to “lessen its direct exposure to the hotel business and focus more on entertainment and gambling.”

“Hospitality will issue 174 million shares to Tsogo and pay it 1 billion rand cash ($75.5 million),” according to Reuters. And Tsogo, which currently owns 50.6% in Hospitality, told Reuters it will use the cash to pay down debt.

HotelInvest granted board approval to separate from Accor: After a meeting on Thursday, the board of directors approved “the implementation of the internal reorganization to separate its HotelInvest activity under the AccorInvest group,” according to a news release. AccorInvest will operate 960 hotels across 26 countries with about 40,000 employees.

Sébastien Bazin, AccorHotels’ chairman and CEO, said in February the plan for AccorInvest is to create a separate platform outside of AccorHotels for several of the company’s currently owned assets, though the company will remain the majority shareholder in the platform.

A special meeting of shareholders will be held on 30 June to “approve the contribution agreement and the corresponding contribution, as well as meetings of applicable bondholders, in accordance with law and regulations,” the release states.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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