Parliamentary resolution will
dictate sale of land of Airmalta hotels
By Matthew Vella
An Airmalta spokesperson told The Malta Financial and Business Times
yesterday that the sale of land for the national airlines hotels
will have to proceed through a parliamentary resolution.
Airmalta is currently attempting to divest itself from three subsidiaries
which operate hotels on the island. The private investors within the
three Airmalta subsidiaries facing divestiture have however not yet
responded to offers from the Airmalta group to purchase the airlines
shareholding in the companies.
These are French-based Accor SA, which has a 10 per cent shareholding
in Selmun Palace Co Ltd, which operates the Gran Mercure Selmun Palace
Hotel, and Ta Xbiex Lapins Ltd, which has a 19 per cent interest
in Hal-Ferh Co Ltd, which operates Hal-Ferh holiday complex and part
of Medisle Village.
The other subsidiary, Tigné Development Co Ltd, which operates
the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza in Sliema, is owned by Airmalta and another
subsidiary, Malta Air Charter Co Ltd.
Since the land of the three subsidiaries is government-owned, a parliamentary
resolution will have to be passed for the sale of the land. An Airmalta
spokesperson told the Malta Financial and Business Times that the airlines
board of directors were still examining the details concerning the sale
of the companies and the land.
The spokesperson said that until divestiture, all three companies retain
their rights to the land. However, the national airlines directors
are expected to take into consideration the consequences of the parliamentary
resolution, since this would put into play parliamentary debate on the
terms of sale of the three companies.
Last week, Airmalta chairman Lawrence Zammit told this newspaper there
was "no intention" of any redundancies in the three hotel
subsidiaries of the national airline until divestiture. Zammit was reacting
to Labour leader Alfred Sants statements that there could be imminent
job losses from Airmaltas subsidiaries.
Zammit said the company had already publicly declared that it would
be Airmaltas strategy to divest from its shareholding in the three
companies in the near future but that it was not the intention of the
company to lay off workers until the hotels are divested from the group.
"In the end our strategy is to divest our shareholding in these
companies, but we are not planning on making any people redundant."