The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Star suitors check out

Calcutta, Oct. 28: Only three players ' none of them from top hospitality groups ' have bid for the Bengal government-owned Great Eastern Hotel with ITC Ltd and Park Hotels not turning up to submit their quotations.

The Unitech Group, Ramuk Scan AB and Bharat Hotels were the only three to submit the technical and financial bids today.

“Bidders had been asked to come to Writers’ Buildings and submit the bids between 11 and 12. Even gate passes had been issued for the representatives of ITC and Park Hotel. Oddly, they didn’t turn up,” said Ardhendu Sen, secretary of the public enterprises and industrial reconstruction department, which is handling the hotel’s privatisation.

Twelve were shortlisted from the expressions of interest invited by the government in October 2004. These included the mainline chains ITC Ltd, Park Hotels and the Oberoi group and the three who have stayed on in the race.

“In March 2005, the Oberoi chain and Kenilworth opted out. By May this year, the figure came down to eight, with New Kenilworth and Sinclairs backing out,” said the official.

The government held a meeting with the eight bidders on October 17 to clarify last-minute queries.

“Most of the eight had seemed interested. The response from Park Hotels had been lukewarm and their withdrawal is not surprising, but ITC’s backing out is surprising,” said an official.

No one from ITC was available for comment.

Sen, however, put up a brave face. “Two of the three final bidders are multinational companies. The rest don’t matter now.”

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