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Monday, May 12, 2008

Sale of Four Seasons Resort landmark in industry

PREVINDRAN Singhe's passion for hospitality real estate has moulded his real estate agency, Zerin Properties, into a hotel specialist with a number of interesting hotel transactions in the past four years.

“In our business, we have something new to look forward to every year. There have been many transactions that we have undertaken but the most interesting by far involved the sale of Four Seasons Resort, Langkawi,” the 38-year-old chief executive officer said.

The sale of the Four Seasons Resort to Kingdom Hotels Investment last April has landed Zerin with an award by RFP Magazine under the “Real Estate Investment” category.

Tagged one of the landmark hospitality transactions of 2007,it marked Kingdom Hotel Investments’ entry into the Asian tourism market.

Tracing the transaction which took a total of three years, Previndran said the hotel's former owner, Malaysia Airlines, had been under pressure to attain its price objectives.

“By structuring the deal as a win-win proposition, a US$129mil (RM435mil) price was achieved with the buyers able to leverage on the value of the proposed private villas on the property. The transaction not only broke records for Malaysia Airlines, but also marked one of the biggest forays by a high profile international investor into Malaysia,” he added.

Kingdom Hotels Investment is listed on the Dubai and London stock exchanges and has a portfolio of 34 hotels in 21 countries. These hotels are under the Four Seasons, Fairmont or Raffles and Movenpick brands.

According to the panel of judges for the RFP award, “the hotel sale has the capability to change the scope of economic development in the region. It necessitated a certain vision, comprehension and sustained efforts to convince an investor to foray into a new market.”

Previndran said the inaugural award by the Hong Kong-based RFP Magazine and the quality of the shortlisted nominees underscored the level of competitiveness involved.

“To win it was a superb feeling for Malaysia as it proves that, firstly, we are ready to make Malaysia an international real estate destination with quality projects and properties and, secondly, we have quality people, like my team of 18 staff, and the know-how to conduct transactions of this nature.”

The award ceremony will be held in Hong Kong on June 12.

According to RFP Magazine co-publisher Claire Saeki, the awards are the first in the region to recognise the professionals who build, design and manage the buildings in which “we work, live and play.”

“There are many architectural and design awards, but all too often exceptional individual contributions are overlooked in the rush to award the buildings themselves. By rewarding those who go above and beyond in the pursuit of professional excellence, we hope to raise the bar for the industry in Asia,” she said.

A judging a panel of senior industry experts selected 12 winners from a shortlist of 50 nominees who were considered based on various factors, including their individual and team contribution, the significance of their projects, sustainability, effectiveness, project size, innovation, difficulties overcome and budget-control exercised.

By The Star

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