Marriott acquires South Africa's Protea Hotels

8 Nov 2013 by GrahamSmith

Marriott International has acquired Protea Hotels, a South African firm with 116 properties across three brands.

The deal will see 10,184 rooms in South Africa and six other sub-Saharan African countries come under the Marriott umbrella.

Marriott has signed a letter of intent with parent company Protea Hospitality Holdings and, when finalised, the agreement will nearly double the US giant's distribution in Africa to more than 23,000 rooms.

Protea Hotels was founded in 1984 and manages, franchises and leases 104 hotels across its namesake brand, with two properties forming its "lifestyle boutique" Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! brand, and ten "superior deluxe" African Pride Hotels.

In addition to its industry-leading 80 hotels in South Africa, Protea Hotels owns properties in Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

As part of the deal, Protea Hospitality Holdings would 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 for these hotels.

It would also retain a number of minority interests in other Protea managed hotels. Marriott would manage approximately 46 per cent of the rooms, franchise approximately 40 per cent of the rooms, and lease approximately 14 per cent of the rooms.

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

"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 travellers, and drive loyalty to our Marriott Rewards program both within Africa and globally."

The deal is expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2014.,

Graham Smith

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