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EasyGroup Seeks Ivory Coast, Nigeria Hotel Openings, Lonrho Says

Lonrho Plc, which operates the EasyGroup Holdings Ltd. hotel franchise in Africa, plans to open budget hotels in Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and South Africa, Executive Chairman David Lenigas said.

Lonrho, a London-based multi-industry company focused on Africa that gets most of its revenue from agribusiness, said July 27 that it signed an agreement to operate the EasyHotel Ltd. franchise and plans to open 50 outlets across the region by 2016. The company has yet to determine the location for the first hotel, which it plans to open next year, Lenigas said in a Sept. 5 interview in the company’s London offices.

The hotels will be marketed to local business travelers rather than international customers, with the earliest bookings getting a room for $29. The average charge will be around $80 a room, said Lenigas.

“If you’re coming in from the United States from Dallas you’re going to stay at the Intercontinental,” said Lenigas. “But there is no market there for the $70 room from a supply perspective, there’s a huge market for demand.”

Hotels accounted for 5.5 percent of Lonrho’s 107.8 million pounds ($171.7 million) of revenue in the year through September 2010. The company currently has about 400 hotel rooms under management across Africa and would like to have up to four EasyHotel’s open within 12 months, Lenigas said.

EasyGroup is owned by Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who founded Europe’s second-largest discount airline, EasyJet. EasyGroup spokeswoman Eleni Menikou didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment today.

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