5 things to know: 28 February 2018
5 things to know: 28 February 2018
28 FEBRUARY 2018 10:32 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • AccorHotels sells 55% stake of owned portfolio
  • Trump Organization gives foreign profits to US Treasury
  • Playa enters agreement with Sagicor for five resorts
  • Lagos hotels shut down over tax evasion
  • HNA predicted to be next target of Chinese crackdown

AccorHotels sells 55% stake of owned portfolio: AccorHotels is once again asset-light with the sale of a majority 55% stake of its owned portfolio via the company’s AccorInvest division’s Booster project, HNN’s Terence Baker reports.

The transaction is expected to close by the second quarter of 2018, AccorHotels CEO Sébastien Bazin said on a call announcing the news. Once the deal closes, the company will implement a two-year timeline of returning €1.35 billion ($1.65 billion) to shareholders via share buybacks.

Bazin said the “entry of new shareholders and the deconsolidation of AccorInvest will provide AccorHotels with substantial leeway to enhance our dynamic growth and innovation strategy and create value for shareholders.”

“For its part, AccorInvest will take advantage of its new powerful shareholders’ support, as well as a strengthened financial structure to execute its roadmap and continue to reinforce its portfolio of assets.”

Trump Organization gives foreign profits to U.S. Treasury: The United States Treasury was given an undisclosed sum from the Trump Organization last week, which is said to be the “first of what are annual payments to compensate for hotel profits from foreign officials,” NPR reports.

"This voluntary contribution fulfills our pledge to donate profits from foreign government patronage at our hotels and similar businesses during President Trump's term in office," George Sorial, the Trump Organization’s chief compliance counsel, said in a written statement.

CNN reports that there are still some unanswered questions about the payment arrangement, such as the amount of the donation and how the Trump Organization defines profits from foreign countries.

Playa enters agreement with Sagicor for five resorts: Playa Hotels & Resorts announced that it will acquire five all-inclusive resorts and two adjacent oceanfront land sites in Jamaica from Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited, according to a news release.

The portfolio consists of four existing properties including the 489-room Hilton Rose Hall, the 268-room Jewel Runaway Bay, the 250-room Jewel Dunn’s River and the 225-room Jewel Paradise Cove. An 88-room hotel tower and spa and two developable land sites are also included in the deal.

Sagicor will acquire 20 million shares of Playa common stock in exchange for the portfolio, as well as $100 million in cash and two seats on Playa’s Board of Directors, the release states.

Lagos hotels shut down over tax evasion: The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service in Nigeria has closed 20 hotels, restaurants and event centers due to “their failure to remit taxes,” All Africa reports.

Businesses affected by the shutdown owe the government 295.49 million Nigerian nairas ($819,675.98). Hotels closed as a result of the decision include Ajaxbel Hotel, Mayor Hotel, Mozarella Hotels, Darahamson Guest Palace and Lafun Suites.

HNA predicted to be next target of Chinese crackdown: Conglomerates with ties to the Chinese government have been seizing other companies in the country, the latest being Anbang Insurance Group, and analysts predict HNA Group could be the next company taken under control, BBC News reports.

HNA has stakes in Carlson Hotels and Hilton, and has invested $40 billion in the past three years, the news organization reports.

The company might not be in financial difficulties, but Michael Hirson of Eurasia Group told BBC News to “expect Beijing to lean on HNA to get rid of ‘most if not all of its financial sector holdings.’”

Compiled by Danielle Hess.

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