Marriott close to sale of hotels to Abu Dhabi

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US hotelier Marriott International is close to the sale of three hotels to an institutional buyer, the operator’s CEO said, with an Abu Dhabi government fund the most likely buyer.

Speaking to Fox Business, CEO Arne Sorenson said that the sale of Edition-branded properties in London, New York City and Miami Beach was being considered. However, he declined to comment on a report carried in the Wall Street Journal that a Middle East sovereign wealth fund was the buyer.

“We have signed a letter of intent with an institutional buyer,” Sorenson said.

Marriott International saw a 10.6 percent increase in RevPAR across its properties in the Middle East and Africa in the second quarter of this year, data published last month showed.

Driven predominantly by a 2 percent growth in occupancy and 6.8 percent increase in average rates across the region, the company said the figures demonstrated "the strength of its portfolio".

The regional results built on positive global results, which saw a 25 percent growth in net income over Q2 2012.

Marriott International's regional performance was boosted by a number of key openings during the second quarter including the Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel and The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal, the first Ritz-Carlton in Abu Dhabi and ninth property in the Middle East for the company's luxury tier lodging brand.

During the second quarter of this year, Marriott International announced three new property signings, adding a further 1,094 rooms to its system - the 312-room Renaissance Dubai Downtown Hotel will open next year, while the 370-room JW Marriott Hotel Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and 412-room JW Marriott hotel Doha in Qatar will open in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Marriott International is also preparing to open three new hotels in Africa next year - the 104-unit Marriott Executive Apartments Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, 209-room Accra Marriott Hotel in Ghana and the 254-room Kigali Marriott Hotel in Rwanda.

These new hotels bring the total number of announced properties joining Marriott's Middle East and Africa portfolio by 2018 to 45, adding 12,919 rooms.

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