Marriott doubles presence in Africa

Marriott doubles presence in Africa

African hotel chain Protea is being taken over by Marriott for an undisclosed amount.

Cape Town-based Protea Hospitality Holdings operates or franchises 116 hotels across three brands with 10,184 rooms in South Africa and six other countries.

The transaction will nearly double Marriott's presence in Africa to more than 23,000 rooms.

The deal will also allow the US giant to accelerate expansion plans in the region.

Protea has 80 hotels and resorts under three brands in South Africa and properties in Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Alex Kyriakidis, president of Marriott International for the Middle East and Africa, said: "The development cycle for opening new hotels in Africa is typically long due to the challenges posed by emerging infrastructure, so joining forces with Protea Hotels and their highly respected management team is the strongest way to jumpstart Marriott's footprint in Africa.

“We believe this would also result in more job creation in South Africa and across the continent."

Terms of the transaction, which is expected to be concluded in the first quarter of 2014, are not being disclosed, Marriott said.

Protea is to create a property ownership company to retain ownership of the hotels it currently owns and enter into long-term management and lease agreements with Marriott. It would also retain a number of minority interests in other Protea managed hotels.

Marriott would manage about 46% of the rooms, franchise approximately 40%, and lease 14%.

Marriott International president and chief executive Arne Sorenson said: "Africa has significant untapped potential for travel and tourism, both as a destination and source of new global travellers.

“The continent's GDP is anticipated to grow at over 5% annually over the next several years which we expect will raise more people into the emerging middle class.

“With the Protea Hotels acquisition, our expanded footprint should allow us to become the first choice of Africa's rapidly growing population of young, sophisticated travelers, and drive loyalty to our Marriott Rewards programme both within Africa and globally.”

He added: “Protea Hotels enjoys unparalleled brand recognition in Africa, and our combined portfolio of Protea Hotels and current Marriott International brands would create a platform for accelerated growth and new job growth in South Africa and across the continent."

Arthur Gillis, chief executive officer of Protea Hospitality Group, said: "Protea Hotels has grown organically to become the largest and leading hotel group in sub-Saharan Africa. Aligning with a global giant such as Marriott ensures we can realise the group's full potential for all of our stakeholders.

“In Marriott we have found a perfect fit across culture, values and commitment to industry leadership which will ensure that we remain at the forefront of African hospitality."


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