Rezidor CEO Says HNA Wants to Grow Brand, Will Study NH Deal

  • HNA plans to make Rezidor a ‘hotel chain on a global level’
  • Outbound Chinese travel offers ‘real opportunity’ for hotels

HNA Group Co., which in April agreed to buy a 51 percent stake in Rezidor Hotel Group AB, plans to turn the European lodging company into a “hotel chain on a global level,” according to Rezidor Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Neumann.

HNA may eventually try to combine Brussels-based Rezidor and Madrid-based NH Hotel Group SA, in which it owns a 30 percent stake, Neumann, 53, said in an interview in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on May 26. “The priority is to consolidate Carlson Rezidor and then we will study the possibility of integrating with NH,” he said.

A representative at HNA didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for NH declined to comment.

HNA, the Chinese investor in airlines and tourism, is acquiring Minneapolis-based Carlson Hotels Inc. and its stake in Rezidor, which owns the Radisson and Park Inn brands. HNA must make an offer to Rezidor’s shareholders for the remaining shares once the deal is completed, according to Swedish law. Rezidor, which is listed in Stockholm, has a market value of 5.8 billion Swedish kronor ($700 million). The deal is scheduled to close in the second half, Carlson said in April.

Rezidor shares rose as much as 1.5 percent to 33.90 kronor in Stockholm, reversing earlier losses. NH gained as much as 1.6 percent to 4.58 euros in Madrid.

Direct Access

“It’s a real opportunity,”  Neumann said. “The operation with HNA will allow us to directly access the Chinese market."

Chinese investors are buying U.S. and European hotel businesses in an effort to capture profits generated by increased travel of Chinese travelers overseas. Jin Jiang International (Holdings) Co., which controls China’s biggest lodging company by market value, is the biggest shareholder in Paris-based hotelier Accor SA. Jin Jiang also owns Accor competitor Louvre Hotels Group.

Chinese outbound travel rose by about 15 percent last year to 61 million travelers and is predicted to reach about 85 million within five years, according to research firm Oxford Economics.

Rezidor has more than 450 hotels, primarily in Europe, and one property in China, according to its website. HNA owns a 30 percent stake in NH, which has about 400 hotels, most of which are in Europe and the Americas.

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