Sat, Apr 17, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Formosa Hotels acquires ‘Regent’ business

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Formosa International Hotels Corp (FIHC, 晶華國際酒店集團), the nation’s largest listed hotel operator, beat more than 20 other global hotel operators with its successful acquisition of the “Regent” luxury hotel business for an estimated US$56 million.

The move paves the way for FIHC’s global expansion and makes it Taiwan’s first hotel operator to own an international hotel brand.

“Our mission is to build Regent into the most admired luxury hotel brand in the world, exceeding even the high expectations of Regent’s [previous] owners and guests,” FIHC chairman Steven Pan (潘思亮) said in a statement yesterday.

FIHC said it had entered into a definitive agreement with the US-based Carlson, a privately held, global hospitality and travel company, as well as Belgium’s Rezidor Hotel Group AB.

The acquisition by FIHC includes the sale of the global Regent brand and all associated intellectual property, hotel management and lease contracts for 17 hotel properties in operation and under development, as well as the Regent Seven Seas Cruises license, the statement said.

The master purchase agreement for the transaction includes customary conditions, which are expected to be fulfilled within the next month, it said.

The Regent brand is owned by Carlson, which also runs T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants and globally operates and licenses the Regent brand, including hotels, residences and cruise ships.

In 2003, Carlson expanded its relationship with Rezidor under a separate master franchise agreement to include the development rights for Regent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

FIHC is the owner of the Grand Formosa Regent Taipei (晶華酒店), which was opened 20 years ago on Zhongshan N Road by Regent’s founders.

According to the statement, future Regent hotels will be based on the concept of mixed-use, lifestyle development that encompasses the finest hospitality, residential and commercial components in prime urban and resort locations.

Regent plans to return to gateway cities such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, New York, Beverly Hills, London, Paris and Sydney. Pipeline hotels include projects in Abu Dhabi, Bali, Bangkok, Doha, Dubrovnik, Gurgaon, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket, as well as the Maldives and Puerto Rico, the statement said.

“We are confident that Regent will thrive under the direction of FIHC,” Carlson president and CEO Hubert Joly said in the press release. “The company’s thorough knowledge of the brand and access to capital are vital to the continued development of this tremendous luxury brand.”

“After a careful consideration, we came to the conclusion that FIHC provided an excellent fit to Regent’s future. It is exclusively focused on the luxury hotel segment, and committed to growing the brand internationally,” Rezidor Hotel Group president and CEO Kurt Ritter said.

Shares of Formosa International Hotels fell 0.8 percent to NT$370 yesterday on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The stock has declined 9.87 percent so far this year, compared with the benchmark index’s 0.93 percent fall.

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