BUSINESS

Four Seasons eyes Astir Palace operations

ILIAS BELLOS, STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

TAGS: Tourism, Privatizations

The Four Seasons international hotel chain is closer than ever to penetrating the Greek market by taking over the Astir Palace Resort at Vouliagmeni, southern Athens.

Next Monday will see the end of the franchise contract signed between the resort and Starwood Hotels and Resorts that is currently operating the popular tourism complex. This will be followed by preparations for the implementation of an investment program that will see the modernization of the hotel units by new owner Apollo Investment HoldCo.

Four Seasons now appears to be the favorite to lease the Astir Palace hotels from Apollo. In the last three years, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, head of the Kingdom Holding Company that controls 47.5 percent of Four Seasons, has repeatedly expressed his intention to establish a presence in the Greek hotel market.

The sale of Astir Palace is expected to be completed on Thursday. Sellers National Bank and state privatization fund TAIPED have arranged a meeting with the Arab-Turk venture at the bank’s headquarters in order to complete a process that has been ongoing for more than two-and-a-half years.

Apollo Investment, a subsidiary of Jermyn Street Real Estate Fund IV, will pay the set price of 400 million euros on Thursday. Most of this amount (305 million) will go to National Bank and the remainder (95 million) is destined for TAIPED.

Apollo’s owners include two state funds from Abu Dhabi and Kuwait, plus other Arab funds, Turkey’s Dogus Group via D-Marine Investments Holding and two funds of AGC Equity Partners.

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