An Invasion of Business Like Never Before

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By Ajay Mehtani and Dipti Mohan
The Indian hospitality sector is undergoing one of its worst-ever crises in living memory and is putting every effort to deal with this unprecedented invasion. Even now, hotels are relentlessly providing quality services to their guests. So, who are the guests staying at these hotels?

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Pelligra Group Acquired Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport

Australia-based developer and investor, Pelligra Group (“Pelligra”), has acquired the leasehold interest of the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport sold by the UK-based Intercontinental Hotel Group (“IHG”), at an undisclosed price. This represents the first hotel investment by the Pelligra Group. The group will also subsequently be owners of the upcoming Holiday Inn Melbourne Werribee and Holiday Inn Melbourne Richmond, slated to be open by 2020 and 2023 respectively. The sale is part of IHG’s asset-light strategy, to focus on franchising and managing hotels. As part of the sale, Pelligra has agreed that they will invest in a major refurbishment of the property over the coming years, bringing it in line with the Holiday Inn brand. The property features 207 guest rooms along with a restaurant and bar, five conference rooms and a large car park. In 2019, the Melbourne Airport Corporation has revealed airport upgrade plans which include airport expansion, and a larger link to connect Terminals 2 and 3, which is expected to be finalised end of this year.

Lone Star Acquired Japan Hotel Chain Unizo for JPY205 Billion

US-based Lone Star Funds (“Lone Star”) has acquired Japan-based hotelier and property company, Unizo Holdings Company Limited (“Unizo”), for JPY205 billion (USD1.9 billion), winning over the bids from US-based Blackstone Group Inc. and US-based Fortress Investment Group. Unizo released a statement that Lone Star’s JPY6,000 per common share offer for the company had been accepted by 86.6% of shareholders, which include Unizo’s top two shareholders, US-based Elliott Management Corporation (“Elliott Management”) and Singapore-based Ichigo Asset Management International Private Limited. In addition, Lone Star has secured an agreement with major shareholder, Elliott Management, to acquire its 13% shareholding. Unizo further added that once the share purchase had been completed, Unizo would be delisted from the Tokyo stock exchange. Unizo currently operates hotels in the central areas of Tokyo, major cities, and regional hub cities under three brands, including HOTEL UNIZO, UNIZO INN, and UNIZO INN Express.

NZ Super Fund and Russell Property Group Acquired Formosa Golf Resort in New Zealand

The NZD45 billion NZ Super Fund and New Zealand-based Russell Property Group (“Russell”) have formed an entity, Beachlands South Limited Partnership, to acquire the Formosa Golf Resort in Beachlands, east Auckland, at an undisclosed price. The entity has purchased 250 hectares of land, consisting of 170.5 hectares of land from the Formosa Golf Club owned by Chinese investors, as well as an 80 hectares property at 620 Whitford-Maraetai Road, owned by Pipers Limited Partnership, an associate of Russell. The properties are collectively valued by Auckland Council at NZD81.5 million. Russell will manage the land and continue to operate the Formosa golf club for the foreseeable future while the partnership considers future options. Last year, the fund joined with Russell to invest into a NZD300 million hotel portfolio which includes 255-key Four Points by Sheraton and 160-key Adina Auckland Britomart in Auckland and the 263-key BreakFree Hotel in Christchurch.

InterContinental Hong Kong to be Rebranded to Regent Hong Kong

The 503-room InterContinental Hotel Hong Kong, located at Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront, has announced its biggest renovation in 30 years to rebrand the property into the Regent Hong Kong. The hotel closure is scheduled on 20 April 2020 with the targeted reopening in 2022. The renovation will include all guest rooms and suites, all public areas, restaurants and event venues, as well as a redesign of building façade with a contemporary design. During the renovation, Yan Toh Heen, the hotel’s 1-Michelin star Cantonese restaurant, will remain open with access through the K11 Musea mall located next to the hotel. The hotel opened as Regent Hong Kong in 1980 before being rebranded to InterContinental Hong Kong in June 2001 by UK-based Intercontinental Hotel Group (“IHG”). In March 2018, IHG acquired majority stake in UK-based Regent Hotels and Resorts and has been planning to reopen the property as the Regent Hong Kong. Presently, the hotel features 503 guestrooms, including 87 suites, a spa, a fitness centre and eleven event spaces which includes a ballroom with over 2,044 square metres
of meeting space.

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