Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

May 12, 2008

HPL in tie-up to develop hotels in Libya

Filed under: Developer News,General,Hotel,World Property — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:35 am

SINGAPORE-LISTED Hotel Properties Limited (HPL) has entered into a joint venture with a Libyan state-owned company to develop hotels and tourist resorts in Libya.

And the first project of its partnership with the Social Security Fund Investments Company (SSFI) is a US$30 million (S$41 million) project to refurbish a top hotel in the country.

The tie-up, on a 50-50 basis, was announced on Wednesday night by Mr Stephen Lau, HPL’s executive vice-president, before they signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

He said: ‘With its superb Mediterranean climate, 1,800km of pristine coastline and desert attractions, as well as its heritage sites,  Libya is poised to be an exciting new tourist destination.’

Mr Lau is part of a business delegation accompanying Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong on a four-day visit to Libya which ended yesterday.

The SSFI is owned by the Libyan Pension Fund and has been investing in hotels for more than 25 years, said its board chairman Issa Tuwegiar. It has interests in some 23 hotels and resorts around the country.

The Libyan Pension Fund, to which workers have to contribute 15 per cent of their pay, is worth three to four billion Libyan dinars (S$3.5 billion to S$4.6 billion), he added.

As for its first project, Mr Lau said the refurbishing of the 1970s-era Grand Hotel in Tripoli is expected to be completed in 18 months’ time.

Its 320 rooms will be merged into fewer but larger rooms to cater to more upmarket travellers and businessmen, he added.

Explaining the birth of the partnership, Dr Tarek Elgehmi, executive manager of SSFI, said it had been looking for a partner for some time to upgrade its hotels to five-star standards.

Its top executives met HPL’s officials when they visited Libya as part of a business delegation. Their subsequent visits to HPL properties in Singapore and Asia paved the way for the tie-up.

The signing of their MOU took place on the sidelines of a networking dinner jointly organised by the Singapore Business Federation and the Libyan Businessmen Council here.

Speaking at the dinner, SM Goh urged Libyan companies to ‘look east’ – towards opportunities in Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China.

Explaining his call, he noted that a shift in the global distribution of wealth is gradually taking place, moving away from Europe towards Asia.

He also urged Libyan companies to go through Singapore as it has a good airport and sea port, and is well-placed to serve as interlocutor.

Source : Straits Times – 9 May 2008

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