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Indian Hotels puts buyout on fast track

Mumbai, Sept. 19: The board of Indian Hotels Company is meeting on October 1 to discuss an overseas acquisition plan.

The Tata group company has informed the stock exchanges about the meeting.

Indian Hotels has been planning to expand globally. It has recently acquired a management contract for a resort in Mauritius, its first ever in the island country.

Recently, the top brass of the company, led by vice-chairman R Krishna Kumar and managing director Raymond Bickson, had visited many countries, including China. A few months back, Krishna Kumar had said the company was eyeing China for expansion.

Indian Hotels is also exploring regions in North America, Europe, Mauritius, south Asia and Seychelles where tourism was affected by 9/11 and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus.

The company has also been exiting from hotels in smaller towns in the country like Pune, Chiplun and Indore.

Analysts say the move was aimed at making its Taj label exclusive in the hospitality segment. Landor, an international consultant that offers professional service to a number of leading companies like Hewlett Packard, Seagate and Mazda Motors, is advising the Taj group on brand repositioning.

The group has been restructuring itself over the last two years. It has divested its holding in a number of properties to its partners to turn itself into a “asset-light company”. It has now decided that the ‘Taj’ brand will be the exclusive preserve of the luxury — or the super-deluxe — hotels like the one in Calcutta.

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