Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

May 12, 2008

Raffles Hotel looks set to be sold at hefty price tag

Filed under: About Singapore,General,Hotel,Land Sale — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:27 am

Consortium led by banker may buy hotel and adjoining arcade for $650m

MYSTERY buyers are set to acquire the historic Raffles Hotel for more than treble the $200 million it sold for just three years ago.

The 121-year-old hotel and the adjoining shopping arcade are changing hands again after a consortium led by a Singapore-based banker agreed to buy the property, the American and Middle Eastern owners announced yesterday.

The eye-popping price tag is about $650 million, The Business Times (BT) reported yesterday.

The dramatic jump in value of the heritage property is the result of Singapore’s booming hotel industry, market watchers say. Average room rates are now about $240, way up from $136 in 2005.

The identities of the buyers are not yet clear, though the consortium is being led by prominent former Credit Suisse banker Mark Pawley, who declined to comment yesterday.

The BT cited unnamed sources as saying the consortium might be linked to a European family.

As a Credit Suisse banker, Mr Pawley helped arrange the $1.7 billion sale of the hotels of Raffles Holdings to US-based Colony Capital in 2005. The hotel portfolio included Raffles Hotel and the adjacent shopping arcade – valued at $200 million then.

Mr Pawley is chief executive of Singapore-based Oxley Capital Group, a private investment house focusing on real estate and private equity. Oxley told Reuters yesterday that it was not the buyer.

After Colony bought Raffles Holdings, it combined the hotels, including Raffles Hotel, into Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, which it had also acquired.

Yesterday, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International (FRHI) announced that it had reached an in-principle agreement with the consortium led by Mr Pawley to sell its stake in Raffles Hotel.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the month, the firm – controlled by Saudi Arabian billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal – and Colony said in a statement.

FRHI said it continues to look for ways to ‘monetise its hotel real estate investments’.

These asset sales, it said, are ‘purely real estate transactions that provide an opportunity to realise the value of our very successful investments’.

Staff and guests at Raffles Hotel are unlikely to be directly affected by the change.

‘Similar to FRHI’s past 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,’ it said.

The BT reported that the sale would come with a 40-year management contract for Raffles Hotels and Resorts, citing unnamed sources.

It also reported a sale price ‘in the mid-$600 million range’. The 999-year leasehold Raffles Hotel has 104 suites. The shopping arcade has a 99-year lease.

Mr Donald Han, Cushman & Wakefield’s managing director, said the hotel sale price would exceed $1 million per room, after taking out the retail component. Generally, a five-star hotel sells for about $700,000 to $800,000 a room.

Back in 2005, concerns were raised about securing the legacy of the hotel, which is a part of Singapore’s history and heritage. But the parties involved have said the hotel’s legacy remains intact.

Source : Straits Times – 9 May 2008

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