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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Kingdom Holding to sell Movenpick stake to AccorHotels 

The sale is expected to be finalised in the second half of this year for 560 million Swiss francs

Chairman and CEO of French hotel operator AccorHotels Sebastien Bazin says the agreement to buy Movenpick Hotels will accelerate the operators growth in emerging markets. Eric Piermont / AFP
Chairman and CEO of French hotel operator AccorHotels Sebastien Bazin says the agreement to buy Movenpick Hotels will accelerate the operators growth in emerging markets. Eric Piermont / AFP

Kingdom Holding, the Riyadh-listed company controlled by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and its partners have agreed to sell Movenpick Hotels and Resorts to AccorHotels for 560 million Swiss francs (Dh2 billion) in cash.

The sale to Accor, 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 transaction implies a 14.9 times 2019 estimated earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation multiple before synergies, including transaction costs, AccorHotels, which operates several brands in 100 countries, said in a separate statement.

The deal will have an accretive impact on group earnings from the first year and the acquisition will help in “consolidating” the company's presence in European markets and will further accelerate “our growth in emerging markets, in particular in the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific”, Sebastien Bazin, the chairman and chief executive of Euronext-listed AccorHotels, said.

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The sale of Movenpick is the first transaction this year by the billionaire prince’s investment conglomerate since he was released in late January, following a sweeping anti-corruption drive in Saudi Arabia last year.

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

Founded in 1973 in Switzerland, Movenpick operates in 27 countries with 84 hotels, and has a strong presence in Europe and the broader Middle East region.

Alwaleed, who is among the most prominent businessmen in the world’s biggest exporting nation, was detained last year as part of Riyadh’s anti-corruption crackdown, but was released from 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.