Apple Leisure Group Debuts in Spain with its Purchase of a Majority Stake in Alua Hotels

23 January 2019 – Revista 80 Días

The US group is one of the largest managers of accommodation in the Caribbean. This purchase allows it to enter the vacation segment and the European market.

Apple Leisure Group (ALG), one of the largest hotel investors in the USA, has acquired a majority stake in the share capital of Alua Hotels and Resorts, the hotel group founded in 2015 by its main executives and the private equity fund Alchemy Partners. The amount of the purchase has not been revealed, although the joint operating result of the chain’s main hotels amounted to €6 million in 2017. Given that the properties are located in areas with high tourist demand and good forecasts, the amount of the operation could have exceeded €40 million, based on the multiples that are typically used for this type of transaction.

With this acquisition, ALG is entering the European market through the sun and beach holiday segment. And it is doing so in a country such as Spain, which receives more than 80 million tourists per year in search of that kind of offer. Alua Hotels has 11 hotels located in Mallorca, Ibiza, Fuerteventura and Tenerife, together with an apartment building in Ibiza.

In total, ALG will manage more than 3,000 4-star hotel rooms, focused on the type of tourist who wants a superior service to that usually found in the average accommodation establishments in beach areas. The US company is planning to undertake more acquisitions in the European market and has announced that it wants to become a reference player in the main destinations in the Mediterranean (…).

Apple Leisure Group is one of the most important investment conglomerates in tourism in the USA. It used to be owned by the investment fund Bain Capital (…), which sold it in 2017 to the funds KSL Capital Partners and KKR for an undisclosed sum. (…). According to data from the conglomerate, it manages 14 brands and handles more than 3.2 million passengers per year (…). Its turnover exceeds USD 3 billion per year (…).

Original story: Revista 80 Días 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Minor Buys 26.5% of NH Hoteles from HNA for €622M

5 June 2018 – El País

The Thai company Minor International has purchased the Chinese conglomerate HNA’s 26.46% stake in NH Hotel Group for a total of €662.3 million, and has whereby become the largest shareholder of the Spanish hotel group, according to a statement filed on Tuesday by the Chinese company with Spain’s National Securities and Markets Commission (CNMV).

The operation has been divided into two tranches. On the one hand, HNA has sold a package of 65.85 million shares in the Spanish group, representing 17.64% of NH’s share capital, at a price of €6.40 per share, for a total of €421.4 million. That operation is expected to be closed by the middle of this month.

On the other hand, the Asian group has sold 32.93 million shares, representing 8.83% of NH’s share capital for €6.10 per share, equivalent to a total price of €200.9 million. Nevertheless, this second operation is subject to the execution of the first and is expected to be closed by the middle of September.

Forced takeover

Currently, Minor holds a 10.22% stake in NH, although it only holds 1.66% in shares. It holds the remaining 8.56% through financial instruments. When its acquisition of HNA’s stake is completed, Minor will be obliged to launch a takeover bid for 100% of the Spanish hotel group, as established by the law, as it will exceed the threshold of 30% of its share capital. The minimum price of that bid will have to be €6.40 per share.

Minor acquired its first stake in NH a month ago, with the purchase of 8.6% from the fund Oceanwood for €196 million, when it paid exactly the same price (€6.40 per share) that it will now pay HNA. Following that operation, Minor explained that “no management changes are expected” in NH in relation to its investment in the company, but it left the door open to expand its stake and, therefore, take absolute control over it.

Minor International Public Company Limited (MINT), the company that operates the Minor Hoteles brand, has 160 hotels, 2,000 restaurants and 400 outlets, most of which are located in South-East Asia. The firm’s market capitalisation amounts to around €4 billion.

Original story:El País (by Ramón Muñoz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Hatchwell Family Launches a Luxury Housing Developer

21 December 2017 – Expansión

The Excem group, led by the second generation of the Hatchwell family, has decided to strengthen its commitment to the Spanish real estate sector, which it broke into a few months ago with the launch of several Socimis.

Now, the Hatchwell family has placed its focus on the house building sector, a booming market in Spain. To this end, the company has created a property developer specialising in luxury housing: LOV Real Estate. “Our objective is to position ourselves in the medium-high end market. For that reason, we are launching LOV Real Estate now; it is going to be the brand of our property developer for building luxury homes with a forecast return for investors of more than 20%”, says Andrés Sánchez Lozano, CEO of Excem Real Estate.

Following its creation, LOV has already chosen its first project: the building located at number 142 Calle Fuencarral in Madrid, in the heart of the Chamberí neighbourhood. There, Excem has purchased a seven-storey building and with a total investment of around €14 million, it will build 25 homes, with between 1- and 3-bedrooms and prices ranging between €400,000 and €1.5 million. “LOV RE’s commitment on Fuencarral includes design architecture, bioclimatic features and ecological mobility elements. The large garden terrace with swimming pool, gym and meeting room for residents also stands out as a unique feature in the area.

LOV Real Estate has been structured as another investment line within the Hatchwell family’s real estate business, launched at the beginning of the year (2017) with the aim of investing €600 million in homes, hostels and offices through three Socimis. Currently, two are operational: one specialising in the residential sector, which owns 27 properties after investing around €14 million and which will debut on the MAB in May 2018.

The other, specialising in hostels and tourist apartments (Situr) has invested €22 million in a single asset in the centre of Madrid.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

AC Hoteles Plans To Open One Hotel A Week

7 November 2017 – Expansión

AC Hoteles by Marriott, one of the main Spanish hotel chains, plans to open 57 new establishments around the world between now and the end of 2018. Moreover, 12 of them will be launched before the end of 2017, according to the company’s President, Antonio Catalán.

“We are opening one hotel a week”, explained Catalán (Corella, Navarra, 1948) in an interview with Efe, in which he described the “spectacular” growth of the chain, which plans to have 190 hotels in total between 2017 and 2018, mainly in the USA and Europe.

Marriot Internacional acquired 50% of the AC brand in 2011 and since then, has rolled out establishments around the world and has started expansion into Asia. The chain forecasts turnover of €400 million this year, up by 20% compared to 2016. The US group contributed 110 million loyalty card holders to the group. “Marriott was a real coup”, said Catalán, who added that “the group has shown that it is there (for us) when the going gets tough”.

“Now, the company is completely healthy following the crisis and has no debt whatsoever”. Catalán founded the NH chain in 1977 when he purchased a hotel in Pamplona. In 1997, he decided to sell his stake and create AC. That chain now has 3,500 employees in Spain and 7,000 in the rest of the world. “I always talk about the big AC family; we do unusual things when it comes to recruitment. We don’t use temporary contracts”, says Catalán, whose aim “is not to earn millions at the expense of his employees”. (…).

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotelbeds Wants To End The Online Agency Duopoly

5 October 2017 – Expansión

The Mallorcan firm Hotelbeds wants to take on the titans of the world of online agencies and break the de facto duopoly, which is effectively dominated by Expedia and Priceline, the parent company of Booking. The company, controlled by the private equity firm Cinven and the fund Canada Pension Plan Investment (CPPI), owns the largest bedbank in the world and after its purchase of Tourico and GTA, is constituting itself as a “clear alternative” to connect hotels and intermediaries, explains Joan Vilà, the Chief Executive of Hotelbeds Group, speaking to Expansión.

“We have undertaken these acquisitions in record time and have almost doubled our size with the purchase of GTA and Tourico. We were already market leaders in terms of our bedbank and our new size puts us in the Champions League of major companies around the world”, says Vilà.

Cinven and CPPI acquired their stakes in the company a year and a half ago, after reaching an agreement with the German group TUI for almost €1,200 million. Since then, the firm has acquired Tourico – based in Orlando and Tel Aviv – and GTA – the commercial name for the Kuoni Group’s travel business, in which the fund EQT owned a stake – for a combined value of €1,300 million.

These acquisitions will allow the group to double in size, with an annual turnover of €7,000 million and a total workforce of 8,300 employees, of which 5,300 belong to the Bedbank division.

For Vilà, the scale of the integrated group will allow the controlled hotels to gain more autonomy. Currently, Hotelbeds works with 100,000 hotels and 64,000 intermediaries (travel agents, tour operators and airlines).

Integration process

Following these operations, the company is now working on its integration plan, which it expects to complete over the next 18 months. “We have decided to use the Hotelbeds platform. Within 18 months we will be working as a single company”.

In terms of strengthening the company’s inorganic growth, Vilà explained that, although he does not rule out making new purchases, the company is focused on the integration process for the time being. The group has not yet decided whether it will work under a single brand. “In the B2B business, the presence of the brand is very important and all three are very well-known”.

In terms of the leadership team, Joan Vilà will continue in his role as the CEO, with Carlos Muñoz as the Director General of Bedbank and responsible for managing the integration of the three businesses, and Andrés García responsible for the financial area of the resulting group. Moreover, Hotelbeds has announced the appointment of José Antonio Tazón as a senior non-executive director on the Board of Directors and as the Chairman of the Advisory Committee.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Radisson Wants To Grow In Madrid & Barcelona

30 March 2017 – Expansión

Radisson Blu – the hotel chain belonging to the Carlson Rezidor group, which is itself controlled by the Chinese giant HNA – arrived in Spain in 2009, with the opening of the Radisson Blue Hotel Madrid Prado. Three years later, it opened a resort in Gran Canaria, and just a few months ago it inaugurated its newest hotel in the country, the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, also in Gran Canaria.

Radisson Blu owns almost 300 hotels in 69 countries. Now, the company wants to strengthen its commitment to Spain and to this end, it is analysing Madrid and Barcelona with particular interest, as key destinations for the opening of new establishments under the Blu and Red brands. “Spain represents an opportunity. We perform most of our expansion through management contracts or franchises, which means that we are not interested in leases, however the properties must always be in good locations”, explained Richard Moore, Vice President for Western Europe, the UK and Ireland at Radisson Blu.

HNA Tourism Group completed the purchase of Carlson Hotels last year and so took over control of 51.3% of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which operates in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, where it competes with NH, in which HNA also holds a stake. (…).

Moore added that the chain has studied options on the Mediterranean coast but that, for the firm to open a hotel, it “has to fit with our brand. We are proud of the way we make our brands fit with the properties and of our relationships with the property owners”.

Specifically, in the case of its most recent hotel in the Canary Islands, the chain has reached an agreement with the Norwegian family group Wenaasgruppen, which owns 24 hotels. It is the second time that the company has worked with the Norwegian group, which also owns the other hotel that Radisson manages in Gran Canaria. (…).

Moore added “There are lots of reasons why we want to have a presence in Spain and, above all, in Gran Canaria”. He said that, in the last twelve months, the number of tourist arrivals in Gran Canaria has grown by 14% and the average revenue per room (RevPar) has risen by 18% – or 15% in the case of luxury hotels -. “25 airlines fly to 142 destinations from Gran Canaria in 25 countries. It is the second most popular destination after Tenerife”, he said.

Brexit

In terms of risks to the business, Moore does not think that Brexit will have a significant impact on tourism in the islands and less so on the hotels that the group manages, which are upscale establishments (five stars) with a very diversified client base. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebecca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotel Chain Attica21 Acquires Its First Hotel In Madrid

11 January 2017 – Inmodiario

The hotel chain Attica21 has acquired its first property in Madrid, the Gran Hotel Las Rozas. Attica21 Hotels, which is owned by the Inveravante Corporation and which already owns hotels in Galicia and Barcelona, has completed the integration and refurbishment of this new hotel to ensure that it complies with the group’s standards. It will start to operate the property, now known as the Gran Hotel Attica21 Las Rozas, under the Attica21 brand from the beginning of 2017. The hotel is an urban establishment, which will generate 30 direct jobs.

Located in the heart of the Las Rozas Business Centre, next to the A-6 (A Coruña) motorway and just a few minutes from the centre of Madrid, the property is a modern, elegant and functional 4-star hotel with 90 double rooms, including 3 Junior Suites and 3 rooms for disabled guests.

Aimed at both business and leisure clients, the hotel has several restaurants, as well as facilities for holding events and company meetings. To this end, it has a cafeteria with a terrace, a hall for banquets and events with capacity for 200 people (Mirador Las Rozas) with an extensive outdoor space, gardens, terraces, facilities for celebrating civil weddings and an outdoor space for drinks receptions; as well as 570m2 of meeting rooms. Moreover, it has a Fitness Center, a gym, sauna and changing rooms with hydro-massage showers and private parking.

Attica21 Hotels

The chain Attic21Hotels, created in 2008, owns six 3- and 4-star hotels located in Galicia and Cataluña: Attica21 Coruña, Attica21 Barcelona Mar, Spa Attica21 Villalba, Aparthotel Vallès (Sabadell), Apartamentos Portazgo and As Galeras Hotel Apartamentos. Attica21’s hotels are characterised by their modern feel and by the broad range of services that they offer their clients; they also represent very good value for money. The chain is also renowned for its commitment to high quality catering.

Original story: Inmodiario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotel Incosol Is Sold To A Spanish Hotel Group For €20M

26 February 2016 – El Mundo

The iconic Hotel Incosol in Marbella was sold on Tuesday (23 February 2016) to a Spanish hotel group and the consideration paid, more than €20 million, is thought to be sufficient for the workers to receive €2 million, according to reports from the lawyers advising the bankruptcy proceedings of the JALE group, which owns the hotel.

According to those sources, the buyers have also purchased the brand, and so it is clear that the intention is to revive the luxury establishment and benefit from the name that it has made for itself in health tourism since the 1970s. According to these sources, the banks – Sareb and Banco Sabadell – have ended up accepting a significant discount on the debt, which amounted to approx. €30 million in total.

The operation has been made possible, according to the sources, by the diligence of the judge of the Cádiz court, Manuel Ruiz de Lara, who authorised the bankruptcy administration to sell the hotel in its entirey (and not piecemeal) and for the money obtained to be paid to the bankruptcy creditors.

In any case, it is likely that a dispute will arise with the Social Security authorities, which will end up in the courts. Nevertheless, the money for the 158 workers seems to be guaranteed.

In fact, less than a year ago, the Social Security authorities opposed the sale of the hotel to a buyer, after negotiations had taken place with up to 40 different parties interested in acquiring the property. According to sources close to the bankruptcy proceedings, the debt with the Social Security amounted to around €5 million.

The Incosol Hotel was the last large asset left to be liquidated by the Cádiz group JALE, which is immersed in bankruptcy proceedings in which the owner, José Antonio López Esteras, has filed complaints to the previous bankruptcy administrators, as well as to the General Council of Judicial Power regarding the actions of the previous judge, Nuria Orellana.

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

Palladium Strengthens ‘Only You’ With New Hotel In Madrid

24 February 2016 – Cinco Días

The Palladium group is strengthening its presence in Madrid with the launch of a second Only You hotel. The four-star property, located opposite Atocha train station, will have 206 rooms and is expected to open its doors in June.

The hotel is following in the footsteps of the first Only You hotel, located on Calle Barquillo in Madrid, which has become one of the iconic boutique establishments in the city. “We want to operate a dynamic model under the umbrella of the Only You chain, to serve both a hotel with 100 rooms, as well as one with 250 rooms”, said Juan Serra yesterday, the CEO of Only You and Ayre Hoteles, the urban division of the Palladium group, in which El Corte Inglés holds a 50% stake and which recorded double digit growth figures last year.

In this way, the Group has established a period of between six and ten months to analyse the evolution of its brand and begin its expansion. To drive its growth, Palladium will evaluate the conversion of some of its hotels, possibly including its property in Valencia, as well as its management model. According to Abel Matutes Prats, the CEO of Palladium, the group may also extend its brand “to several Spanish and European cities over the next five years, and we are not ruling out certain Latin American capital cities”. “We have built the foundations for growth and that is what we intend to do”, said the executive.

The future hotel, which will employ around 60 people, has received an investment of around €38 million, to finance the purchase of the property and its renovation. The opening of the establishment will also coincide with the extension of the hotel on Calle Barquillo, to include 55 new rooms.

The Palladium group, which recorded revenues of more than €500 million last year, is also working on the construction of its second Hard Rock Café, in Tenerife, where it will invest around €80 million and which is expected to be ready in November. Moreover, it will spend another €700 million on three hotels in Cancun, one of which will operate under the Usuahïa brand. This growth is being financed primarily using own funds.

Abel Matutes also acknowledged that the company is currently evaluating the Socimi (company structure) formula, at a time when the group owns all but three of its hotels, but he highlighted that this analysis is at “an embryonic stage”. And he said that the group will focus its investment on America over the next few years.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Laura Salces)

Translation: Carmel Drake