marriottMarriott International has completed its acquisition of the 116-hotel Protea Hospitality Group (PHG), doubling its presence in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region to more than 160 hotels and 23 000 rooms. According to Marriott International, this will make it the largest hotel company in Africa according to the latest published information.

At the same time, Marriott said that its pipeline of new hotels in the Middle East and Africa, including Protea’s pipeline, was now more than 65 hotels and 14 300 rooms, including more than  20 hotels and 3 000 rooms in sub-Saharan Africa. Marriott International also expects to recruit more than 5 500 staff over the next four years in order to meet the needs of its growing portfolio of hotels in Africa.

Alex Kyriakidis, President and MD of Marriott International’s MEA region, said: “Today is the culmination of months of highly productive collaboration between Protea and Marriott International teams.  We are delighted that such a tremendously dedicated, talented and effective team, which has been so well-led by Protea Chief Executive Officer, Arthur Gillis, is now joining the Marriott International family.”

Kyriakidis said Gillis would become Non-Executive Chairman, Africa Development for Marriott International, focusing on exploring opportunities for new African hotel growth for all of Marriott International’s brands.  In addition, Mark Satterfield, currently chief operations officer for Marriott International’s MEA region, will relocate to Cape Town, Protea’s headquarters, to act as business leader overseeing the integration of the two companies.

As previously disclosed, Marriott paid approximately R2.02 billion for PHG.  As part of the transaction, the previous owners of PHG created an independent property ownership company that retained ownership of the hotels PHG formerly owned, and entered into long-term management and lease agreements with Marriott for those hotels.  The property ownership company also retained a number of minority interests in other Protea hotels.  Marriott now manages approximately 45% of Protea’s rooms, franchises approximately 39%, and leases approximately 16%.

Marriott expects that the Protea portfolio will be available for booking on Marriott.com or via Marriott International’s Global Reservations Centres toward the end of May, and the hotels will join the Marriott Rewards guest loyalty programme later, at a point to be announced.  Kyriakidis says there are no changes currently planned in terms of brand identities.

From : Tourism Update

1 April 2014