x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Thai hotel group takes stake in Per Aquum

The parent company of Anantara has acquired a 50 per cent stake in Per Aquum, which manages Desert Palm in Dubai.

The parent company of the Thai hotel chain Anantara has acquired a 50 per cent stake in Per Aquum, which manages Desert Palm in Dubai.

Minor Hotel Group paid US$4 million for the investment and plans to develop the brand with co-owner Maldives-based Universal Enterprises to build at least five hotels over the next five years.

Per Aquum currently has three properties, two of which are in the Maldives - Huvafen Fushi and Niyama - in addition to the Dubai resort.

The investment takes Minor's portfolio to 91 properties, including three Anantara hotels that it manages in the UAE. It also owns the Avani, Oaks hotels and serviced apartments brands in addition to Elewana, a luxury safari concept.

"We needed another brand because there is only so many Anantaras and Avanis that you can do in a certain location but there is a market for a nice very niche boutique brand which we can really leverage," said Dillip Rajakarier, Minor's chief executive. "That's the reason why we decided to joint venture on the brand and from our side, our input is going to be taking the brand and expanding this brand further."

The UAE was among the possible locations for the new properties, he added.

"There are lots of options here in the UAE. It could be Dubai, it could be Abu Dhabi, it could be Sharjah, it could be Ajman. We have pretty good relationships now, especially with the Anantara brand gaining a lot of traction because we will have five hotels in the Middle East [by next year]."

Minor will open its fourth Anantara UAE property - and the Palm Jumeirah's first "over water villa resort" this September. Early next year it will add a resort in Doha, Qatar.

Minor may be expanding in the Middle East, but its home market of Asia remains important. "Asia continues to be a strong growth market, both in terms of tourism and also in terms of GDP growth as well, so we are quite bullish about investing in Asia," said Mr Rajakarier.

"We are very bullish about investing in Africa and we continue to explore the UAE."