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Interview with Pierre-Frédéric Roulot, Louvre Hotels Group

What determined the sale of these 40 establishments to franchisees, rather than an institutional investor like Foncière?

We must go back in time a little, with the arrival of Delphine Jaouen as the group's Director of Asset Management. She conducted a comprehensive audit of all our assets to define a dynamic management policy, which retains only the best performing subsidiary establishments. The 40 least strategic establishments have more potential in the hands of a franchise operator, with a lighter structure. This sale was less likely to attract institutional investors, such as Foncière des Murs, for example, with which we had previously carried out a sale and leaseback operation. The profit from the disposal will be spent on debt on the one hand, and financing recent renovations on Campanile on the other, and finally on our international development under subsidiary. By refocusing our fleet of subsidiaries on the best establishments, we are developing an "Asset Bright" strategy, which beyond the pun reflects the will to invest in hotels that serve as models for the entire network.Are there many new franchisees among the buyers?Globally, we have sold two-thirds of the establishments to new franchisees and one-third to those that wanted to expand their supply under the Campanile or Kyriad brands. For the most part, those franchisees are involved in management and we did not want to propose mandates. Many of the new investors took over one or more hotels. We increasingly deal with "Family Offices", which have a wealth-building focus and an asset management strategy.Where are you standing in the rollover of the "Campanile Nouvelle Génération" concept?65% of Campanile establishments will be to Nouvelle Génération standards by the end of 2013 and over 90% in 2014.What is your targeted share in subsidiaries?For the entire park, we want to hold around 15% of the room capacity, ideally bringing us closer to this level in all brands, whether Première Classe, Campanile, Kyriad or Golden Tulip.You will soon convert the Concorde Massalia to a Golden Tulip; is this the definitive beginning of the end for Concorde Hotels?Our shareholder Starwood Capital has given us the management of the Concorde brand since September 1st. It therefore enters our brand portfolio and we will operate a number of reclassifications, such as Marseille. But I have every intention to use the Concorde brand, which has a strong reputation in France and in several regions of the world. It complements our premium offering next to Royal Tulip. We already have signed a contract with an independent upscale hotel in the South of France and two more are under discussion. In the Middle East, the Concorde brand appeals more than Royal Tulip, so this is an opportunity. We now have a full range of brands from 1 to 5 stars, which is a new competitive asset in the field of franchising.


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