Business
US hotel giant Marriott takes over Protea hotel group
Publish Date: Jan 23, 2014
US hotel giant Marriott takes over Protea hotel group
Patrick Bitature owns Kampala Protea Hotel
  • mail
  • img
newvision

By John Odyek

US hotel giant Marriott have finalized a deal to buy the Protea group, one of Africa's largest hotel chain for US$186m (sh461b). An official at Kampala Protea Hotel confirmed the take-over bid.


Based in South Africa, Protea manages 116 hotels in eight African countries namely Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, Nigeria, Namibia, Malawi and Tanzania.

In Uganda the company manages three properties, including the Kampala Protea Hotel, located in Kololo, Kampala; the Entebbe Protea Hotel, adjacent to Entebbe International Airport and the Mbale Protea Hotel, near Mt Elgon, located in Mbale district.

A fourth property, the Hoima Protea Hotel is currently under development in the Western Ugandan town of Hoima, in the oil-rich Albertine Graben.

Kampala Protea Hotel is owned by Patrick Bitature, one of Uganda’s business moguls. It was not possible to get a comment from him as his phone kept ringing and he did not answer. It was also not possible to get a detailed comment at the hotel as the general manager was said to be in a meeting.

"Marriott and Protea plan to close the transaction on April 1, 2014," the firms said in a statement.

The US firm has undertaken to take on all of Protea's staff, who number around 15,000. The Nasdaq-listed Marriott Group has 3,900 properties around the world and is worth around US$15.5b (sh6150trillion).

The deal gives Marriott a formidable position in a rapidly growing market, nearly doubling its footprint in Africa. Last year, a record 56 million travellers visited Africa, according to UN statistics.

That was up six percent from the figure for the previous year and a similar increase is expected for 2014. Business travel is also picking up on the continent as the sub-Saharan region grows at an average of five percent a year.

After the deal was announced on Wednesday, Protea CEO Arthur Gillis said that he expected Marriott to "sprinkle professionalism" on top of an already well-functioning business.

"One cannot compare the resources of a company with 120 hotels with the resources of a company with 3,900 hotels," Gillis said.

Gillis said the deal placed Marriott at an advantage over global competitors which had decided to build African hotels themselves, rather than acquire them.

Marriott, he said, "looked at what the other global players had said they were going to do in Africa, then what the other global players have done in Africa."

"Sadly they are two entirely different things. I've got many newspaper clippings, (detailing plans for) '50 hotels in five years,' '75 hotels in ten years'", said Gillis.

"Marriott have said something completely different" in going for a takeover," he said.

Responding to suggestions that Marriott may have got Africa's most prized hotel chain at a bargain, Gillis said "Both Marriott and Protea are moderately unhappy about the price that was paid," Gillis joked.

"We have left a lot of value on the table, but that value is going to be unlocked by Marriott. It was an absolutely unanimous board decision," Gillis said.

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Yiiya Ssente forum: Past participants to share testimonies
Participants who attended previous Yiiya Ssente forums will have a chance to share their experiences with other people who will attend this year’s forum at Kololo Airstrip on Saturday....
Kalagala Nkozi farmers launch a Cooperative Society
A new farmers’ Cooperative society was yesterday opened in Mpigi district, to provide financially and technical skills to farmers....
Museveni tips soft-drink companies to use locally produced fruits
President Yoweri Museveni advises soft-drink companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi to process locally produced fruits in order to cut down on some costs....
Make mobile banking relevant to poor
State minister for Microfinance Caroline Amali Okao has challenged digital financial services providers that their target of adding 550,000 active users by the end of this year might not succeed unless they come up with innovations that will benefit the local users...
Central Bank governor wants mobile money business regulated
The Central Bank governor ,Tumusiime Mutebile, has conceded that there is need for a law to streamline the bank’s supervisory role over mobile money services operated by telecom companies....
World art sales hit new record in 2014
Global art sales set a fresh record in 2014 driven by acquisitions from new museums, while China maintained its place at the top of the market....
Do you think government is doing enough to contain the typhoid out break?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter