Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thakral, Stamford still big in Australia

LOCAL companies Thakral Holdings and Stamford Land Corporation remained among the top 10 hotel owners in Australia last year, as the economic downturn forced some other major players to pare their holdings, a report shows.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels (JLLH), further changes may be afoot this year, as hotel owners continue to take advantage of strong demand from domestic and offshore private investors.

‘It is likely that investment will be dominated by private investors and select owner-operators for the short to medium term until managed funds return to the market,’ said JLLH’s managing director for investments (Asia) Mike Batchelor.

Investors last year were largely high net worth individuals from Asia, who have invested $900 million in hotels in Australia over the past two years, he said.

Another trend occurring in Asia is a shift in hotel ownership, going by the increasing number of intra-regional hotel transactions, Mr Batchelor said, pointing to recent purchases of Swissotel Merchant Court in Singapore and Niseko Village in Japan by Malaysian companies TA Enterprise Bhd and YTL Hotels respectively.

Thakral retained third place in the top 10 list of hotel owners in Australia, with eight properties offering some 2,600 rooms, at end-December last year. Stamford Land retained its eighth place with seven hotels offering about 1,770 rooms.

Except for Thakral and Stamford Land, the other players in the top 10 list are from Australia.

Heading the list is Tourism Asset Holdings, which owns 43 properties that account for some 6,560 rooms.

And while other companies were either holding back on acquisitions or selling properties to cut debt or dispose of non-core assets, Amalgamated Holdings Group rose two places to seventh in the top 10 by acquiring three hotels.

GPT Group, which had made the top 10 for eight straight years, is nowhere to be seen in the latest list after it divested the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney and 10 assets within its Voyages Hotels & Resort portfolio last year.

Source: Business Times, 14 Apr 2010

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