A subsidiary of Thai commercial property developer U City PCL agreed to acquire Austrian hotel company Vienna House for an undisclosed amount. The transaction is expected to close this summer.
VIENNA, 23 February 2017 – The new year begins with a decision of enormous impact for the future of Vienna International Hotelmanagement AG just one year after repositioning itself on the market as Vienna House. The entire equity stake will be acquired by Vienna House Capital, the Austrian subsidiary of Thailand’s U City PCL (U City), with expected effective date of Summer 2017.
The signing took place on 23 February 2017. In the coming months, the transaction will be prepared, subjected to an antitrust review and approved for closing. The deal will strengthen the capital structure of Vienna House to secure further investments in growth, in the business architecture and in pioneering services.
At the same time, Vienna House Capital signed the purchase agreement for seven European hotel properties and one operating company owned by Warimpex and partially by UBM. All of the hotels involved are already under management by Vienna House. With the closing, these hotels will be incorporated into the Vienna House Group.
U City is a listed Thai commercial property company. In September 2016, U City made its first strategic step into Europe through its acquisition of a prime office building in London. The largest shareholder of U City with 35.64 percent is BTS Group (BTSG), one of Thailand’s top publicly listed companies with a market capitalisation of EUR 2.7bn and four business units: mass transit (Skytrain), media, real estate and services. Both companies are headquartered in Bangkok and own hotels in Thailand. Piyaporn Phanachet, CEO of U City, explains the European investment: “This is an acquisition with synergy, which expands our Asian hotel portfolio with a pan-European one and exposure to both established and fast-growing markets in the continent. We look forward to continuing our solid growth together with Vienna House and its existing management.”
“We have found exactly the strategic partner we were looking for: A strong shareholder who I have known for some time, who shares our vision of the hotel business and who supports our economic goals,” says Rupert Simoner, CEO of Vienna House, explaining the desired changes. “In this way, we remain one of the last independent European hotel companies – a fact we are very proud of – and can focus on reaching our growth targets in brand management, company positioning and portfolio expansion. Vienna House now owns around half of its current portfolio of 34 hotels – a step that is very important to me from an entrepreneurial point of view,” Simoner adds. The existing lease and management contracts with Vienna House remain valid without change.
Together with Chief Operating Officer Martin Ykema and Chief Financial Officer Johanna Weichselbaumer, the whole team will continue its work and secure the development of Vienna House unchanged. Vienna House thus remains an Austrian company with headquarters in Vienna.
“Vienna House owes an enormous thanks to the two representatives of the previous main shareholder, Franz Jurkowitsch and Georg Folian,” says Simoner and adds: “The two founders and I maintain a friendly relationship characterised by enormous mutual respect and appreciation. I look forward to developing more hotel projects together with Warimpex and UBM.”
Vienna House fills a niche between private and chain hotels. This allows the company to act creatively and flexibly and to make changes. Vienna House demonstrated this not least with its successful market entry and brand management. The goal now is to grow to 50 hotels in Europe by the year 2021. Further worldwide hotel openings are being considered in countries with a high affinity for individual and zeitgeisty European hospitality.
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