Ashford closes seven property deal

Ashford Hospitality Trust has completed the acquisition of seven full-service, upper-upscale hotels totaling 2,004 rooms for $267.2 million in cash ($133,333 per key).The seven hotels include the 263-room Embassy Suites Philadelphia Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the 249-room Embassy Suites Walnut Creek in Walnut Creek, California, the 300-room Hilton Minneapolis Airport in Bloomington, Minnesota, the 375-room Sheraton Anchorage in Anchorage, Alaska, the 260-room Sheraton San Diego Mission Valley in San Diego, California, the 323-room Marriott Trumbull in Trumbull, Connecticut, and the 234-room Sheraton Iowa City in Iowa City, Iowa. Ashford changed management of five of the hotels not targeted for sale from an affiliate of Interstate Hotels and Resorts to Remington Management, L.P. Ashford has commenced marketing the Sheraton Iowa City and Marriott Trumbull properties.

Ashford intends to invest approximately $40.0 million in revenue-generating brand improvements during the next 12 months. The purchase price represents a trailing 12-month cap rate of 6.0% on net operating income, an EBITDA yield of 7.5% and a 13.4x EBITDA multiple. The acquisition was funded with proceeds from a $212 million first mortgage from Countrywide Commercial Real Estate Finance and proceeds from the Company’s July 2006 follow-on offering. The Countrywide interest-only loan, which is secured by the seven hotels, has a three-year term, bears interest at a rate of LIBOR plus 172 basis points and is locked from prepayment for the first 18 months. The loan also provides for an additional funding of $35.0 million for capital expenditures related to the value-added improvements planned for the hotels.

Monty Bennett, President and CEO of Ashford Hospitality Trust, said, “We are pleased to complete this acquisition and move forward with the value-added capital improvements and aggressive property management plan our asset management team has crafted that will enhance both top and bottom-line performance. The attractive financing we were able to secure on this portfolio not only provides us the flexibility to fund this asset management plan but also pursue potential capital recycling with the Trumbull and Iowa City hotels. We fully expect that these well-branded, full-service hotels will generate returns consistent with previous portfolios we have acquired and aggressively asset managed.”