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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Naza moves aggressively to expand hotel business

The Naza group plans to expand its portfolio to include four- and five-star as well as boutique hotels.

The Naza group, most known for its automotive business, is moving aggressively into the hotel sector and plans to expand its portfolio to include four- and five-star as well as boutique hotels.

Nur Nadia SM Nasimuddin, head of its hotel division, said that each category will be branded differently albeit under the Naza umbrella.

Currently, the division has a hotel each in Penang, Johor Baru and Malacca, opened in the last six years. The Naza hotels are rated three- and four-star, and have around 130 rooms each.

The group also holds the franchise to operate Howard Johnson Torrance and the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Pedro, Los Angeles, in the US.
Nur Nadia said the hotel division makes less than RM4 million in revenue currently, but expects it to increase to RM6 million next year before growing in double digits.

"We are doing a few things this year to build our portfolio. We are rebranding Naza Hotel as Naza Talyya Hotel at a cost of RM1 million," she said, adding that it targets to launch the new brand by the end of next month.

The group had earlier spent RM18 million to give its properties a facelift. The exercise was completed in March.

"We are spending to improve the properties. As such, the hotel division won't be making much profits in the current year," Nur Nadia told Business Times in an interview.

"We hope to have a few more hotels in our stable in the next three to five years. We will open a fourth Naza Talyya Hotel in the Klang Valley by year-end," she added.

Naza will rope in foreign designers to work on the interior of the hotels in the pipeline, and renowned architects for exterior works.

The group will ensure that the location and room count are feasible before it embarks on a new hotel venture.

Nur Nadia, youngest daughter of the late Naza founder and chairman Tan Sri SM Nasimuddin SM Amin, also said that its boutique hotel concept will be similar to those in the US and Europe.

"There are currently not that many boutique hotels in Malaysia. I am looking at doing something unique and I believe there is room for growth," she said.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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