Kingdom Holding sells stake in Mövenpick to rival AccorHotels

The Movenpick Ibn Battuta in Dubai (Shutterstock)
Updated 01 May 2018
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Kingdom Holding sells stake in Mövenpick to rival AccorHotels

  • Movenpick has 84 hotels in 27 countries, and plans to open 42 additional hotels by 2021
  • The Movenpick brand name is a familiar one in Middle East cities like Dubai

PARIS: Kingdom Holding, the investment vehicle owned by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has sold its 33.3 percent stake in Swiss hotel group Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts to its associate firm AccorHotels. 

“Together with its partners, (Kingdom Holding Company) has signed an agreement to sell Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts (MHR) to AccorHotels where KHC is also an investor,” the company said in a statement on Monday. 

AccorHotels confirmed it had agreed to buy Mövenpick for 560 million Swiss francs ($567 million), with the purchase expected to be completed in the second half of 2018. 

Kingdom Holding owns a 5.7 percent stake in AccorHotels. The investment company’s shares, listed on the Saudi stock exchange, closed 0.33 percent lower. 

“With the acquisition of Mövenpick, we are consolidating our leadership in the European market and are further accelerating our growth in emerging markets, in particular the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific,” said AccorHotels Chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin.

"By joining the Group, it will benefit from AccorHotels’ power, particularly in terms of distribution, loyalty-building and development.”

Founded in 1973 in Switzerland, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts operates in 27 countries with 84 hotels, including a strong presence in Europe and the Middle East. 

Kingdom Holding is rumored to have sold its shareholding in the Four Seasons Hotel in Beirut earlier this year, according to a Reuters report citing “sources.” The company did not respond to a request for comment. 

Prince Alwaleed was one of several senior Saudi businessmen and government officials detained last year as part of a wide-ranging anti-corruption drive. He was released in late January. 

Kingdom owns stakes in several high-profile international companies including Citigroup, Twitter, Apple, Twenty-First Century Fox, and US-based ride-sharing app Lyft.


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.