From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- Caesars Palace Las Vegas completes $2.2 billion funding
- Hurricane Irma ferocity continues
- Barceló possibly studying NH takeover
- Turkish hotel industry sees hope in new source markets
- Former Steigenberger CEO to head up Taj Hotels
Caesars Palace Las Vegas completes $2.2 billion funding: Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, together with its Chapter 11 debtor subsidiaries, announced it has obtained $2.2 billion of committed proceeds to finance the fee and leasehold interests in the 3,974-room Caesars Palace Las Vegas.
According to a news release, the money will finance a to-be-formed real estate investment trust that will be used to repay CEOC’s existing indebtedness in accordance with the terms of a reorganization plan. The release added that the “financing is comprised of a $1.55 billion mortgage loan, a $200 million senior mezzanine loan, a $200 million intermediate mezzanine loan and a $250 million junior mezzanine loan.”
Hurricane Irma approaching U.S. landfall: Hurricane Irma is nearing Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and, according to a National Hurricane Center prediction, is looking as though it will sweep across the majority of Florida.
The category-five storm—with winds of 185 miles per hour—has already hit the island of Barbuda, The Telegraph reports. “The hurricane is so strong that it appeared on seismometers, which are designed to measure earthquakes,” the news agency reports.
The latest communique from the Florida governor’s office stated that a pre-landfall emergency declaration for the State of Florida has been approved by President Donald Trump and that “all 7,000 National Guard members will be reporting for duty Friday morning,” when Irma is expected to hit the U.S. state.
Local media report that hotels farther north in Florida are reporting 100% occupancy as those living in or close to coastal areas look to escape the bad weather.
Barceló possibly studying NH takeover: According to Reuters, Spanish hotel company Barceló has hired Santander Bank to investigate a possible takeover of peer firm NH Hotel Group, with the news agency saying “initial contact has been made between shareholders.”
Barceló last opened its wallet in April with a 60% repurchase of Crestline Hotels & Resorts, which it had sold in 2013. Chinese hotel firm HNA owns 29.5% of NH, and the company’s overseas investments could be impacted by Chinese government interference targeting non-core buys.
Turkish hotel industry sees hope in new source markets: Faced with a drop in demand from historical markets, hoteliers in Turkey are focused on seeking out new demand, writes HNN’s Terence Baker.
“Nationalities are changing,” said Deniz Üstertuna, a board member at Turkish hotel firm Regnum Hotels—which operates the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort in Belek-Antalya. “It was the Germans for many years, but they are not coming as much as before. We expect 30% down across all Europe, but Eastern Europe is increasing. Russia is back, Romanians are coming.”
Still, there is much doubt and pessimism that Turkey’s hotel market can rebound from the hit it has taken recently from terrorism and political turmoil.
“People are nervous. The only thing is what will happen with the new airport,” said Asli Kutlucan, director of development and acquisition at Amsterdam-based Cycas Hospitality. She was referring to Istanbul’s new international airport planned to open at the end of 2018, which ideally will make Istanbul even more of a hub market.
“I am not sure how that (additional airport hotel business) will reflect with hotels in the city,” she said. “As for politics in general, things are not so positive.”
Former Steigenberger CEO to head up Taj Hotels parent: On 29 August, Deutsche Hospitality, the parent company of Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts, announced its CEO Puneet Chhatwal was leaving with the only explanation being that “he returns to India.”
Since then, it has been announced that Chhatwal indeed is returning to India, but as CEO of The Indian Hotels Company Limited, the parent of Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris, according to a news release.
Compiled by Terence Baker.