Kingdom Holding sells stake in Mövenpick to rival AccorHotels

The Movenpick Ibn Battuta in Dubai (Shutterstock)
Updated 01 May 2018

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.


Automakers expect Trump will delay decision on imposing EU, Japan tariffs

Updated 40 min 27 sec ago

Automakers expect Trump will delay decision on imposing EU, Japan tariffs

  • Foreign companies are eager to highlight US investments to try to dissuade US president

Major automakers think US President Donald Trump will again this week push back a self-imposed deadline on whether to put up to 25 percent tariffs on national security grounds on imported cars and parts from the EU and Japan amid an ongoing trade war with China, five auto officials told Reuters.

The anticipated delay — expected to be announced later this week — comes as foreign automakers are eager to highlight US investments to try to dissuade Trump from using tariffs that they argue could cost US jobs.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier this month tariffs may not be necessary. EU officials expect Trump to announce a six-month delay when he faces a self-imposed deadline this week. Trump in May delayed a decision on tariffs by up to 180 days as he ordered US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to pursue negotiations.

Lighthizer’s office recently asked many foreign automakers to provide a tally of investments they have made in the US, several auto industry officials told Reuters.

The White House and Lighthizer’s office declined to comment.

FASTFACTS

• US is considering 25 percent tariffs on national security grounds on imported cars and parts from the EU and Japan.

• President Donald Trump in May delayed a decision on tariffs by up to 180 days as he ordered US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to pursue negotiations.

On Wednesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican ally of Trump’s, plans to attend a groundbreaking at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga assembly plant where they will mark the beginning of an $800 million expansion to build electric vehicles and add 1,000 jobs. The high-profile event will also include remarks from Germany’s ambassador to the US.

VW announced the plan to begin producing EVs by 2022 in Tennessee in January.

Daimler AG said in late 2017 it planned to invest $1 billion to expand its manufacturing footprint around Tuscaloosa, Alabama, creating more than 600 jobs. Tariffs on Japan seem even less likely than the EU, experts say.

Japanese automakers and suppliers have announced billions of dollars in investments, most notably a $1.6 billion joint venture plant in Alabama by Toyota Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp.

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed a limited trade deal in September cutting tariffs on US farm goods, Japanese machine tools and other products.

Although the agreement does not cover trade in autos, Abe said in September he had received reassurance from Trump that the US would not impose auto tariffs on national security grounds. Lighthizer said the two countries would tackle cars in negotiations expected to start next April.

Stefan Mair, member of the executive board of the BDI German industry association, said a deal to permanently remove the threat of tariffs was needed. “The investments that are not being made are costing us the growth of tomorrow, even in sectors that are seemingly not affected,” he said.

Germany’s merchandise trade surplus with the US — $69 billion in 2018 — remains a sore point with the Trump administration as does Japan’s $67.6 billion
US trade surplus last year — with two-thirds of that in the auto sector.