14 July 2016
RIYADH: Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), chaired by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, announced that it has successfully completed the combination of its Fairmont Raffles luxury hotel platform with France-based hospitality group AccorHotels.

The transaction completion comes after the announcement on Dec. 9, 2015 that AccorHotels had signed an agreement with KHC, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), and Oxford Properties, an Ontario pension fund company, for the acquisition of FRHI Holdings Ltd. (FRHI), parent of Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissotel hotel brands.

The transaction was announced legally complete following the approval by AccorHotels' extraordinary shareholders meeting of the reserved capital increase and Board representations for KHC and QIA.

AccorHotels had cleared all antitrust approvals in relevant jurisdictions in April 2016.

As per the terms of the agreement between KHC and AccorHotels, KHC is now a 5.8 percent shareholder in AccorHotels in a $3.2 billion deal with one representative on the board of directors.

Commenting on this milestone transaction, Prince Alwaleed said: "Since we acquired our interest in Fairmont Hotels Management Company in 1994, we have built the Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissotel brands from five hotels under management to 114 contracts today and a further 40 in the pipeline. With the combination of FRHI into AccorHotels, KHC becomes a significant shareholder in one of the largest and most diverse hospitality platforms in the world with over 4,000 hotels and 560,000 rooms under management."

The prince added: "We extend our full support to Accor's management as they position the company for further growth, innovation, and value realization."

Sarmad Zok, chairman and CEO of Kingdom Hotel Investments and member of KHC's board of directors, commented: "The strategic rationale behind this transaction has been applauded by both AccorHotels shareholders and industry analysts. The FRHI brands will deliver the superior RevPAR and margins associated with the luxury hospitality segment as well as a sizeable North American presence. At the same time, these brands will enjoy the scale and growth made possible by Accor's vast platform that is at the forefront of distribution innovation."

Zok, who will serve as KHC's representative on AccorHotels' board of directors as well as on the board's commitments committee and remuneration committee, added: "This merger positions AccorHotels and FRHI on the frontlines of the hospitality sector at a time the industry is undergoing significant structural changes characterized by consolidation, consumer empowerment, disruptive technology, and distribution channels. As a significant shareholder in AccorHotels, KHC puts its vast experience and network in the global hospitality industry at the disposal of Accor management to enable further expansion of the AccorHotels ecosystem."

© Arab News 2016