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Accor Plans $1.5 Billion Expansion in Brazil Through 2016

Accor SA, Europe’s largest hotel operator, plans a $1.5 billion expansion in Brazil to lift the number of properties run under its brands there to 250 in the next four years.

Accor will open about 25 hotels a year to take advantage of Brazil’s growing middle class and increased tourism as the country hosts soccer’s World Cup in two years and the 2016 Olympic Games, the Paris-based company said in an e-mailed statement today.

The company agreed in July to acquire hotel operator Grupo Posadas for $275 million, an acquisition that would add 19 existing or planned hotels to the 153 that it already operates directly or through franchises in Brazil. Accor has opened 11 hotels in the Latin American nation this year and another 11 are scheduled to open before the end of 2012, adding a total of 3,068 rooms.

Chief Executive Officer Denis Hennequin is accelerating Accor’s expansion in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region by offering franchises of the group’s Sofitel, Novotel and Ibis brands. He has sold buildings and leased them back, allowing Accor to pay debt and avoid tying up capital in property. Management and franchise fees rose 20 percent to 233 million euros in the first half, the company reported in July.

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