22 AUGUST 2001

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Corinthia Group move to Croatia

By Ray Abdilla

International Hotel Investments plc is currently actively pursuing development opportunities in the ex Yugoslavia.

Corinthia Hotels International recently announced that they would be taking over the running of the largest five-star hotel in Lisbon, capital of Portugal.

Although the purchase of this hotel has been only made last week, the company is already in advance negotiations in completing a deal to Croatia.

Last week former Minister of Tourism Karmenu Vella was in Croatia whilst the Portugal deal was finalised.

Mr Vella, now Deputy Chairman of Corinthia had discussions with Croatian businessmen involved in the tourism sector about the possibility for Corinthia to buy or build a hotel in Croatia.

The Alfa Lisboa Hotel & Congress Centre, as the hotel is currently named, is a 24-storey landmark property located right in the heart of Lisbon’s financial district, a few minutes from the city’s historical centre.

It was opened in 1985 and currently operates 414 rooms and a major congress centre seating up to 1,400 persons. Other facilities include four restaurants, an outdoor swimming pool, an underground garage and a health club.

A refurbishment project, which will commence over the coming months and proceed without interrupting the hotel’s operation, will involve the redecoration of the hotel’s public areas and the finishing of the hotel’s top five floors, which are currently under utilised.

These additional floors will be converted into a number of executive rooms and suites, fully serviced by independent check-in, business centre and lounge facilities.

Corinthia Hotels International manages four and five star city and resort hotels in Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Portugal, The Gambia, Tunisia and Turkey.

This is the second property that the chain has in Portugal.

Earlier the Hungarian subsidiary of International Hotel Investments (IHI) has signed a syndicate agreement to cover the financing of the reconstruction project of the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal in Hungary.

IHI said the agreement, with a consortium made up of K.&H. Bank and OTP Bank, provides for a loan of 49 million euros. The two banks are sharing the financing equally between them.

The total cost of the reconstruction of the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal, on Erzsebet Korut in central Budapest, is estimated at around euro 86.5 million, IHI said.

The project entails the complete reconstruction of a 415-room five-star hotel, the construction of a separate building located behind the hotel comprising 24 apartments and linked by a bridge, and the total renovation of a spa adjoining the hotel.

The historic facade and ballroom of the hotel will be preserved.

The hotel will be managed by CHI Limited and will welcome its first guests in August 2002.

IHI was setup in 2000 with a paid-up share capital of Lm40 million, 75 per cent of which is owned by the Corinthia Group and 25 per cent by around 3,600 shareholders.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt