Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

May 12, 2008

FRHI confirms in-principle sale of Raffles Hotel

Filed under: About Singapore,General,Hotel,Land Sale — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:30 am

RAFFLES Hotel is being sold – as readers of BT were told yesterday. Under an in-principle agreement announced yesterday, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International (FRHI) will sell the iconic hotel to a consortium led by former Credit Suisse investment banker Mark Pawley.

‘Completion is expected to take place at the end of May 2008,’ FRHI added in its statement.

Raffles Hotels & Resorts, owned by FRHI, will continue to manage the hotel under a long-term management contract.

The pricing for the transaction and details of consortium members were not disclosed.

While he was head of Asian Real Estate, Gaming and Lodging business at Credit Suisse Investment Banking in Asia, Mr Pawley was involved with the $1.7 billion sale of the entire Raffles Holdings’ hotel portfolio – including Raffles Hotel in Singapore – to US-based private equity firm Colony Capital in 2005.

Colony later merged that portfolio with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ assets to create FRHI.

Colony is today understood to hold about 40 per cent in FRHI while Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Hotels International owns the rest.

BT reported yesterday that a preliminary agreement had been inked on the sale of Raffles Hotel and the adjoining shopping arcade and that the price is believed to be in the ‘mid-$600 million range’. The report had also said that the buyer was believed to be a family trust, most likely linked to a European family.

Market watchers yesterday suggested the trust is likely to be a member of the consortium.

Raffles Hotel, Singapore, is just the latest asset FRHI/Colony have sold from the former Raffles Holdings portfolio acquired in 2005.

Last year, FRHI sold 100 per cent equity interest in its two Cambodian hotels, Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh and Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap, to Kingdom Hotels Investments for US$36.4 million and at the same implied enterprise value. It also sold Swissotel Sydney last year.

In late 2006, FRHI sold Swissotel Merchant Court in Singapore to a fund managed by LaSalle Investment Management at a price reported to be in the $300-400 million range.

In its statement yesterday, FRHI said: ‘As part of FRHI’s ongoing business strategy to build a brand-focused global hotel company, FRHI continues to pursue opportunities to monetise its hotel real estate investments.

‘These asset sales are purely real estate transactions that provide an opportunity to realise the value of our very successful investments and provide us access to significant capital for future growth of our management companies.’

‘Similar to FRHI’s past real estate transactions, any hotels that are sold will continue to be part of the company’s hotel collection and will be managed under long-term management contracts.’

Source : Business Times – 9 May 2008

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