Emaar's hotel unit set to take brand global
Dubai, May 6, 2010
Emaar Hospitality, a unit of Dubai's Emaar Properties, will manage two hotels in France and Morocco and is in talks to run more properties under The Address brand globally to tap into a recovery in luxury hotel sales.
Emaar Hospitality's chief executive, Marc Dardenne, told Reuters in an interview the company's next step is to grow the brand internationally, after good a good performance at home.
"We have some confirmed hotels, one in the south of France and one in Morocco," Dardenne said. "Many discussions are taking place at this stage to potentially manage more hotels, not only in the Middle East but also North Africa, Europe and hopefully we will also start looking at Asia soon and the US."
Italian designer Giorgio Armani partnered with Emaar to open his first hotel at Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, in April, as the emirate tries to recover from a debt crisis. Emaar plans more hotels with the designer, with the second property slated to open in Milan in 2011.
Emaar Hospitality, which manages and owns properties in Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates, will maintain an asset-light strategy for its international operations, sticking to management contracts, said Dardenne.
Parent company Emaar, 31.2 percent owned by the Dubai government, is the largest listed Arab developer, and is less indebted than other Dubai property firms, with about 8.1 billion dirhams ($2.21 billion) of loans and borrowings outstanding as of September 2009, of which about half is due this year.
The Dubai developer's first quarter net profit soared 221 percent, boosted by revenues from its hospitality and retail business, and easily beat analysts' forecasts.
Emaar Hospitality aims to have 60 hotels in its portfolio in 10 years, most of which under management contracts.
Dubai, which suffered the sharpest drops in hotel revenues regionally in 2009, is seeing signs of recovery with improved occupancies, as the Gulf's tourism and trade hub emerges from the impact of the global financial crisis. - Reuters
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