Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Marriott International to Buy African Hotel Chain

Marriott International, Inc will pay $200 million to acquire one of Africa's largest hotel companies.  The move will make Marriott the leader on the continent.  Not a bad place to be as tourism and business travel are growing rapidly- as well as an emerging middle class.  The hotel giant is acquiring Protea Hospitality Holdings, Ltd, based in South Africa.  The deal will give Marriott control of 23,000 rooms in 138 African hotels in locations from Marrakesh, Morocco to Capetown, South Africa.  Africa certainly has its risks.  It is among the worlds most volatile regions.  Riots, coups and terrorist attacks can disrupt travel plans and destroy hotels.  In 2011, a 370 room hotel in Tripoli was damaged so badly during the Libya uprising, that is still closed for repairs today.  Staying away is also risky.  "I would rather go in when it's not obvious to be there, than go in when it's too late," he said. Mr. van Paaschen, CEO of Starwood Suites,  is on a multi country tour of Africa scouting for new projects this week.  Africa's rapid economic growth, emerging middle class, increase in international flights and infrastructure investments are attracting hotel chains.