25 July 2018 – Expansión
The Chinese fund manager Gaw Capital Partners is making its debut in the Spanish hotel sector hand in hand with Omega Capital, the family office owned by Alicia Koplowitz. Specifically, the investment firm specialising in real estate assets has purchased 50% of the Hospes Hotel Group, worth €125 million, and has created a joint venture together with Omega Capital – with which it will share the ownership – for the development and expansion of the Spanish chain.
Before the entry of Gaw Capital Partners, the hotel chain was owned in equal parts by Fonsagrada – a company owned by the Koplowitz family -; the Areyhold group, owned by the Yera family; and Telescom, owned by the Hernández López family.
Hospes, founded in 2010, owns nine boutique hotels located in Alicante, Cáceres, Córdoba, Granada, Madrid, Mallorca, Salamanca, Sevilla and Valencia. The company’s establishments, which are all four- and five-star properties, are located in unique buildings that are rich with historical and architectural heritage.
According to the results for 2016 (the latest available in the Mercantile Registry), the chain generated an operating profit of €10.5 million, up by 18% compared to the previous year, and sales of €30 million.
Growth in Europe
The purchase of 50% of Hospes by the Chinese fund has been carried out through the fund European Hospitality Fund I, managed by GCP Hospitality, its hotel division.
GCP Hospitality, founded by the shareholders of Gaw Capital Partners and by Christophe Vielle in 2008, currently manages 39 assets (hotels, apartments and university campuses) and 7,450 rooms around the world.
GCP Hospitality, led by Vielle, has regional offices in Bangkok (Thailand), Beijing (China), Hong Kong (China), Perth (Australia), San Francisco (USA), Singapore and Rangoon (Myanmar).
Vielle, CEO of GCP Hospitality Management, explains to Expansión that, with the good outlook for the European tourism industry, the company is “actively” studying ways of expanding its portfolio across the Old Continent.
“We will take advantage of the reputation of the Hospes Hotel Group and our international network to raise the profile of the brand”, says the CEO GCP Hospitality Management.
In this sense, the evolution of the Spanish tourism sector in recent years has been spectacular. Spain recorded a new milestone last year with the arrival of 82 million international tourists and has also registered eight consecutive years of growth in terms of tourism GDP. For Vielle, the acquisition of Hospes Hotel Group is an example of the “solid track record” of GCP Hospitality in the launch and management of successful hotels and first-rate brands.
Since its creation in 2005, Gaw Capital Partners has raised almost USD 10 billion (€8.557 billion) and currently has USD 18 billion (€15.403 billion) in assets under management. The fund manager, which is investing in different segments of the real estate market, has a significant presence in the Asia Pacific region and in the USA.
Promoting the brand
Meanwhile, the alliance with the Chinese investment fund manager allows Omega Capital to boost its investments in the tourism sector.
Hospes is not the only firm that Koplowitz is backing in the hotel sector through her family office. Specifically, Omega Capital, together with the Orient Express group (now Belmond) purchased the Madrilenian Hotel Ritz for €125 million in 2003. More than a decade later, in 2015, Omega Capital and Belmond sold that iconic hotel to a consortium formed by the Olayan family, from Saudi Arabia, and the Mandarin group, which manages the establishment, for €132 million. The property is currently closed for refurbishment.
Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake