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Fri 28th Feb 2020 - Whitbread makes Germany acquisition, Jamie Oliver shuts in Hong Kong
Whitbread makes 19-strong German hotel acquisition: Whitbread has bought a portfolio of 19 hotels in Germany, from Foremost Hospitality Group GmbH, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition, which comprises 13 open hotels and six in the pipeline, gives Premier Inn a greater presence in the German hotel market. The open network and committed pipeline now stands at 52 hotels with over 9,800 rooms in more than 25 cities. Alison Brittain, chief executive of Whitbread, said: “The completion of the Foremost acquisition marks an important milestone as we execute our ambitious growth plan for the Premier Inn brand in Germany. The acquired hotels are all in proven prime locations, are of high quality and will appeal to both business and leisure customers. This acquisition significantly increases our scale in Germany, taking our presence to 19 open hotels and a pipeline of 33 more across the largest cities in Germany. We believe the German market has many of the structural growth drivers that have underpinned the success of Premier Inn in the UK, and is a market that will deliver strong returns in the future. We will continue to look for opportunities to further accelerate the growth of our business.” This acquisition includes 13 trading leasehold hotels (comprising 2,140 rooms) and six committed pipeline leasehold hotels (comprising 970 rooms). The trading hotels will close for a period to enable the full rebrand to Premier Inn over the coming months, and the pipeline hotels will open progressively, starting this year. The German hotel market is 30% larger than the UK, 74% independent and highly fragmented, with a structural shift from independent hotels to branded hotels, following a similar trajectory to the UK. Premier Inn’s strong quality and value credentials provide a long-term opportunity to establish a major hotel brand and develop a successful business of scale in this attractive market. 

Jamie Oliver sites in Hong Kong and Taipei close: Two Jamie’s Italian sites in Hong Kong run under franchise will close today. Following months of anti-government protests, the coronavirus outbreak, and a drop in tourist arrivals, Big Cat Group, which operates the restaurant franchise, has decided to shutter both outlets. It also announced that its Taipei franchise will close. “These events, combined with the fact that Hong Kong remains one of the highest rental markets in the world, have created what could be described as the perfect storm,” the group said in a statement yesterday. The first Jamie’s Italian opened in Hong Kong in 2014 in Causeway Bay, followed a year later by the second in Tsim Sha Tsui. In its statement, Big Cat said the number of daily visitors to the city plunged from 200,000 in January 2019 to fewer than 3,000 this month.

Dishoom to launch Birmingham restaurant in April: Indian restaurant Dishoom will open its Birmingham restaurant in April creating more than 100 jobs. The site will occupy a section of the ground floor of One Chamberlain Square, part of the Paradise Birmingham development. The restaurant, which launches on Wednesday, 1 April, will accommodate 330 guests across its dining room, Permit Room bar and terrace. It will pay homage to the Irani cafes that were once part of Bombay but will feature its own distinct story that will explore the parallels between Bombay and Birmingham. Executive chef Naved Nasir’s menu of Bombay comfort food will be served all day alongside a chef’s special – mutton chaap korma – created for Dishoom Birmingham. The Permit Room bar will serve Dishoom’s cocktails, teetotal tipples, chai and coolers. Dishoom operates five London restaurants and one each in Edinburgh and Manchester.

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