Riding a wave of increased investment activity in China and the rest of Asia, the 15th Annual Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) drew a record crowd of top hotel industry leaders to Hong Kong between October 13-15, 2004. Nearly 500 delegates attended the event, which has become one of the largest gatherings of its kind in the region. HICAP is hosted by Burba Hotel Network (BHN), Horwath Asia Pacific and Sonnenblick Goldman Company.
According to HICAP co-host Jim Burba, President of BHN, “Attendance was up 18% over our best year in 2002 and up by over 30% from last year”. “SARS was still on everyone’s mind in 2003, which impacted all business in Asia, but people are back to business this year”, Burba added. The theme for this year’s HICAP was Back to Business, reflecting an optimistic outlook and heightened level of investment activity.
Among the features at HICAP were the annual awards for the Asian hotel deal of the year. The winner this year was the sale of the Principal Hotel Group to Mulpha Australia in a deal valued at AUD$400 million. According to HICAP co-host Robert Hecker of Horwath Asia Pacific, the seller took advantage of the strong Australian dollar on exit vs entry and the buyer secured high profile assets at well below replacement costs.
“The Principal Hotel Group Portfolio was a well sought after prize which included four hotels, including the renowned Hayman Island Resort and the InterContinental Sydney. Mulpha succeeded in skillfully converting a quick gain with the immediate sale of the Sheraton Brisbane Hotel at a premium to allocated pricing, a strategy likely to be repeated on subsequent individual dispositions from the portfolio”, Hecker said. “Mulpha’s timing appears to be ideal, but also a classic illustration of how aggressive asset management can unlock value”, Hecker added.