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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Exclusive: Kingdom Holding said to be planning more hotel sales

The sales are in line with company's strategy since its hotel unit became a private firm

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Kingdom Holdings. The company has sold over 20 assets in emerging markets since 2010. Guy Martin/Bloomberg
Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Kingdom Holdings. The company has sold over 20 assets in emerging markets since 2010. Guy Martin/Bloomberg

Kingdom Holding, the Riyadh-listed company controlled by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has seven remaining hotel assets in its emerging markets portfolio which it may sell in the coming three years, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The forthcoming sales are part of the firm’s strategy to exit investments it made in some of the emerging markets while continuing to focus on Asia, Europe, and the United States which are considered growth markets by the company, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity. The sale is in line with the company’s plans since its unit, Kingdom Hotel Investments which manages a portfolio of hotel properties was taken private in 2010.

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Kingdom has sold over 20 assets in emerging markets since 2010. In 2017, Kingdom sold its 90 per cent interest in Malaysia’s Four Seasons Resort for around $90 million. This year, the company off loaded its stake in Beirut’s Four Seasons property for around $100m to $115m including debt, according to a Reuters report. The firm also sold the Four Seasons in Damascus, the Financial Times reported in March.

Alwaleed, who is among the most prominent businessmen in the world’s biggest oil exporting nation, was detained last year as part of Riyadh’s anti-corruption crackdown, but was released from the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the capital on January 27. He was among 200 Saudi businessmen, high-ranking government officials and ministers who were detained as part of the crackdown.Alwaleed’s investment firm owns stakes in global companies such as Citigroup and Twitter.

On Monday, Kingdom and its partners agreed to sell Movenpick Hotels and Resorts to AccorHotels for 560 million Swiss francs (Dh2 billion) in cash. The sale to AccorHotels, in which Kingdom owns a 5.8 per cent stake, is expected to be finalised in the second half of this year, the company said in a statement to Saudi Stock Exchange, where its shares are traded.

The Movenpick transaction is the first by the billionaire prince’s investment conglomerate since he was released in late January.