Emaar Hospitality, a unit of Dubai's Emaar Properties, will manage two hotels in France and Morocco and is in talks to run more properties under The Address brand globally to tap into a recovery in luxury hotel sales. Emaar Hospitality's chief executive, Marc Dardenne, told Reuters in an interview the company's next step is to grow the brand internationally, after good a good performance at home.
On Wednesday, Dardenne said: "We have some confirmed hotels, one in the south of France and one in Morocco."
He added: "Many discussions are taking place at this stage to potentially manage more hotels, not only in the Middle East but also North Africa, Europe and hopefully we will also start looking at Asia soon and the US."
Italian designer Giorgio Armani partnered with Emaar to open his first hotel at Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, in April, as the Gulf Arab emirate tries to recover from a debt crisis.
Emaar plans more hotels with the designer, with the second property slated to open in Milan in 2011.
Emaar Hospitality, which manages and owns properties in Dubai, part of the UAE, will maintain an asset light strategy for its international operations, sticking to management contracts, said Dardenne.
Parent company Emaar, 31.2 percent owned by the Dubai government, is the largest listed Arab developer, and is less indebted than other Dubai property firms, with about $2.21 billion of loans and borrowings outstanding as of September 2009, of which about half is due this year.
The Dubai developer's first quarter net profit soared 221 percent, boosted by revenues from its hospitality and retail business, and easily beat analysts' forecasts.
Emaar Hospitality aims to have 60 hotels in its portfolio in ten years, most of which under management contracts.
Dubai, which suffered the sharpest drops in hotel revenues regionally in 2009, is seeing signs of recovery with improved occupancies, as the Gulf's tourism and trade hub emerges from the impact of the global financial crisis.
For Emaar Hospitality, first quarter results were better than expected, on the back of increasing demand in the area near Burj Khalifa, Dardenne said.
The firm saw occupancies at above 75 percent across its hotels in the period, said Dardenne.
On plans to IPO Emaar's hospitality and retail businesses, Dardenne said the parent company was looking at the option but would announce it in due course, declining to be more specific.
The firm owns and manages properties including hotels, serviced residences, golf resorts, and recreation clubs. It operates and owns five hotels under The Address brand in Dubai. (Reuters)For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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