EMEA Hospitality Enews - Week Ending September 8 - 2006

Weekly Hotel Industry News Roundup from Europe, Middle East and Africa

HVS A New Brand And More Hotel Sales On The Way From Accor
Accor's hotel division will be alive with activity in the years ahead; the Sofitel brand is to be repositioned, the Formule 1, Ibis and Novotel brands will be relaunched with new designs, and Red Roof Inn, the brand that adorns the company's economy hotels in the USA, will be the subject of a strategic review. And that's not all. Accor is creating a new brand in the economy sector too: a brand that will be offered (starting next year, in France) to independent franchisees across Europe. A hotel seeking deliverance from this frenzy might perhaps be secretly praying that its name is on the list of 535 properties that Accor wants to sell by 2008.

Accor Presents Its Interim Figures
Accor has reported its results for the first six months of 2006. Over this period the company recorded a 36.7% rise in pre-tax operating profit, to €282 million, and an increase of 8.4% in revenue, which finished at close to €3.7 billion. In looking ahead to the second half, Accor noted that RevPAR from its hotels in Europe in the months of July and August combined was up 10.4% in the upscale and mid-scale sectors and 6.3% ahead in the economy sector. The company is predicting full-year pre-tax operating profit of between €680 million and €700 million.

NH Hoteles Seeks Sotogrande Shares
NH Hoteles is looking to acquire the remaining shares it does not already hold in Sotogrande, its property development subsidiary. Those shares correspond to a stake of 20.9% and NH plans to gain them by offering a one-for-one share exchange. The Spanish savings bank Caja Madrid is reported to have agreed to the deal. In return for its 17.26% holding in Sotogrande it would receive a 5% stake in NH Hoteles (which would take Caja Madrid's total holding in the hotelier to 10%). NH Hoteles will be hoping that the holders of the remaining 3.67% stake follow suit. The Spanish press reports that if NH Hoteles is successful in its quest for 100% ownership then it would sell a portion of Sotogrande, but would ensure that it remained the majority shareholder.

Fattal Hotel Management Returns To Berlin
News of Fattal Hotel Management's attraction to Berlin broke in March, when it was announced that the Israeli company had taken a 25% stake in each of two hotels in the German capital. The Excelsior (316 rooms) and The Steinplatz (160 rooms) are joined in Fattal's portfolio by an aparthotel that stands at Schönefeld airport. Fattal Hotel Management is reported to have paid US$10 million for the 148-room property.

Malmaison Moves On Aberdeen
When it comes to activity in Scotland, Malmaison has found itself outshone recently by its stablemate Hotel du Vin. This week, however, Malmaison was able to grab the spotlight from Hotel du Vin and shine it upon its plans for Aberdeen. The company expects to have completed the purchase of the privately owned Queen's Hotel by the end of October. The 34-room property will be extended by 16 rooms to create what would be the third Malmaison hotel in Scotland. The work is expected to take up to 18 months to complete. Malmaison's total investment in the hotel is reported to be around £7 million.

French Style For South Africa
The Estate d'Afrique, a mixed-use development on Lake Hartbeespoort, near the northern city of Pretoria, in South Africa, is to have an aparthotel built in a Provençal style. The task of constructing the 250-room Hotel Le Chateau is in the hands of South African firm Atterbury Property, and it will begin work in mid 2007. The four-star hotel should be ready by mid 2008 and it will be managed by Three Cities Hotel Group.

Bucharest And Sofia Welcome Four-Star Hotels
The Romanian capital Bucharest has the novelty of a Novotel; indeed, this is not only the city's but also the country's first sight of the brand. The four-star Novotel Bucharest City Centre has 258 rooms and required investment of close to a reported US$45 million. Another capital city in Eastern Europe with reason to celebrate is Sofia, in Bulgaria. Vega Airlines, a cargo carrier, has delivered the 77-room, four-star Hotel Vega Sofia.

Mövenpick Hotels Makes A First Visit To Amsterdam
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts' first hotel in the city of Amsterdam is its third in the Netherlands as a whole. The 408-room, de luxe four-star Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre stands in the Oostelijke Handelskade district of the city.

Golden Tulip Hospitality Appoints A Chief Operating Officer
There are tulips in Amsterdam (Golden Tulips, Tulip Inns) and these, along with all of the other properties in the world of Golden Tulip Hospitality, will come under the watchful eye of Kees Van Maaswaal from 1 January 2007. For Mr Van Maaswaal, who is currently with Accor as the managing director of its hotels in the Netherlands, will on that date join Golden Tulip Hospitality as its chief operating officer.

Conran May Have Designs On Hotels In London
Conran Holdings made an exceptional gain of £33.2 million from the sale earlier this year of its 50% stake in the Great Eastern Hotel. Departed from Liverpool Street railway station, Sir Terence Conran, the head of the company, is said to be travelling around London with £29 million in his pocket - his share of the proceeds from the sale - looking for more hotels in the capital to buy.

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