IFA takes $50m stake in Kingdom Hotels

06 September 2002

Kuwait-based I nternational Financial Advisers (IFA), a consortium of Kuwait Real Estate Company, International Finance Companyof Kuwait and United Investments Portugal, has signed a strategic alliance agreement with the newly formed Kingdom Hotel Investment Group (KHI).

Under the agreement, IFA will buy $26.2 million of shares in KHI and in the Four Seasons hotel being developed in Beirut. KHI chief executive officer Sarmad Zok says the consortium will invest an additional $24 million in three new hotels being purchased by KHI. The group made two Eygptian hotel acquisitions in June, with the purchase of a 25.6 per cent stake in the El-Quseir Moevenpick Hotel, on the Red Sea, and a 26.5 per cent stake in the El-Gouna Moevenpick, north of Hurghada. KHI is understood to be close to concluding a third acquisition in Alexandria that would take the number of hotels it part-owns in the country to six (MEED 21:6:02).

Formed by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in early May, KHI controls over $1,000 million of property assets in the region, and owns 10 hotels operated by the Swiss hotel group Moevenpickand Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, two companies in which Prince Alwaleed is a major shareholder. Six new Four Seasons properties are due to open in the Middle East in the next two years. 'The global focus of Four Seasons is now on the Middle East market,' says Andrew Humphries, general manager of the chain's hotel in Amman, which is due to open in October. 'There are very few luxury operators who have penetrated the regional market besides us.'

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