Thai hospitality group Minor International is planning to introduce a new four-star hotel brand this year as part of a global expansion strategy that will see its number of hotel and resort properties grow from 72 at present to 105 before the end of 2015. Most of its properties have the Anantara brand.
Minor Hotel Group’s chief operating officer Dillip Rajakarier said the new brand would focus on a lower-priced market, in a move similar to that of other luxury international chain operators like Shangri-La, which now operates second-tier level hotels.
The group declined to reveal the name chosen for the new brand, but said the hotels would open both locally and overseas. It said it had no plans at present to enter the budget-hotel market because of lower returns from this standard of accommodation.
Rajakarier said Minor had been operating multi-brands for years and all of them were aimed at high-end markets. The new brand will be the first four-star hotel in Minor’s portfolio.
The group also announced a five-year expansion plan in which its number of hotels and resorts in Thailand and overseas will rise from the present 72 properties to 105 before the end of 2015. Targeted countries are Africa, China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Middle East and Pacific nations.
Minor Group currently operates 21 Anantara properties in Thailand and overseas. It expects to have 50 Anantara hotels and resorts by 2015.
The group is also planning to increase its number of timeshare units from 20 to 200 units by 2015, along with increasing its number of restaurants from 1,146 to 2,100 over next four years.
Moreover, it plans to increase its number of retail stores from 258 to 300, but its number of residences will remain 67 – the present number.
This year, the group will re-brand a hotel in northern Vietnam, making it the Anantara Mui Ne. It will officially open the St Regis Bangkok and another seven Anantara properties in Thailand and overseas.
Rajakarier said Minor had recently taken over the Australian group Oaks Hotels & Resorts, and expected to secure a 90-per-cent stake in the company within the next two weeks.
The move paves the way for Minor Group to expand what is mainly a residence business controlled in Australia and other regions by Oaks Group. The success of the takeover was due to a lot of debt attached to the Oaks Group, but he said the company’s operations were very good.
“With a majority stake in Oaks Hotels & Resorts, we intend to grow and develop the brand by drawing on all of Minor Group’s strengths to great effect. With a proven track record in the market and a solid pipeline of growth, we have the leadership team and the skills in place to ensure the continued development and financial success of the Oaks brand both within and outside of Australia” he said.
Minor International’s net profit last year was Bt1.3 billion. It is expected to reach Bt2 billion this year. Net profit from its hotel unit, which was Bt600 million last year, is expected to be Bt1.4 billion this year due to strong growth in tourism.
Rajakarier expressed no concerns about political instability in Thailand, and said he believed the issue would not disturb his company’s business-expansion plans.
Source: The Nation