Dubai-controlled KOP buys US$250m Stein hotels

Posted by luxuryasiahome on August 27, 2008

Singapore-based KOP Capital, controlled by the emirate-owned Dubai Group, will buy half of European hotel chain Stein Group for US$250 million, and spend the same amount on new hotels in Asia over the next four years.

‘We have always wanted to acquire an international chain of hotels and resorts, and were looking for a product that we felt was missing from the market. Stein looked like a good strategic fit,’ KOP’s managing director Leny Suparman told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

She said the group expects a boom in leisure and business travel within and to Asia despite the global economic slowdown, as many of these markets continue to see strong growth relatively to Europe and the United States.

Dubai Group is part of Dubai Holding, which is owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

Stein Group founder David Stein, who remains as chairman and chief executive following the acquisition, said the company will look at buying smaller luxury hotels of up to 85 rooms in big Asian cities such as Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

‘We hope to have about 8 to 12 hotels in Asia over the next four years, depending on whether we can buy existing properties,’ he said, adding that the firm was also looking at purchases in Europe, which has been hit by a property downturn.

The firm owns 15 small luxury hotels in European cities including in London, Monte Carlo as well as in Tuscany, where room rates can cost upwards of US$500 per night on average, Stein said.

The group does not compete directly with large global hotel chains such as Marriott International and InterContinental, but compares most closely with niche hotelier Orient Express, he said.

‘There is an increasing demand by affluent clients for a more exclusive, intimate experience that a smaller hotel can offer. And they will go for a recognised brand because many of our clients can’t afford to have a bad night’s stay.’ — REUTERS

Source : Business Times – 27 Aug 2008


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