LVMH Said to Weigh Bidding for Amanresorts Luxury Hotel Chain

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC) is among companies that might be seeking to acquire luxury-hotel chain Amanresorts International Pte, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

DLF Ltd. (DLFU), an Indian real estate developer, has received at least five non-binding bids of $400 million to $450 million for Amanresorts, one of the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the details are private. Amanresorts owns and manages 25 small luxury resorts worldwide, according to its website.

LVMH, the maker of Celine handbags and TAG Heuer watches, said in April 2010 it plans to open two luxury property developments on islands in Oman and Egypt under the Cheval Blanc brand. New Delhi-based DLF is seeking to raise as much as 100 billion rupees ($2.2 billion) through asset sales to repay debt, according to its latest annual report.

Spokespeople for Paris-based LVMH, the world’s largest luxury-goods maker, and DLF declined to comment on the deal.

Private-equity firms are among bidders for Amanresorts, one of the people said without naming the companies. The flagship Amanpuri in Phuket on Thailand’s coast was built in 1987 and rooms as the resort start at $525 per night in September, according to its website.

DLF may sell part of its stake in the Amanresorts to a “strategic partner,” Executive Director Saurabh Chawla said on a conference call with analysts on July 29. The company plans to keep the Amanresort in New Delhi, two people with knowledge of the matter said. DLF’s interest costs jumped almost six times in the latest fiscal year ended March 31 from four years earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Indian company bought a controlling stake in Amanresorts in November 2007 for about $400 million, including $150 million of net debt. DLF took full ownership of the hotel chain during the fiscal year that ended March 31 after settling litigation with minority shareholders, according to its annual report.

The first Maison Cheval Blanc hotel was built by LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault at the French ski resort of Courchevel in 2006.

To contact the reporters on this story: George Smith Alexander in Mumbai galexander11@bloomberg.net; Andrew Roberts in Paris at aroberts36@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net; Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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