• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

Marriot completes $200m acquisition deal, takes over Protea Group

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The  Nigerian hospitality sector is poised to experience a bigger brand and improved standards in offerings, quality of service, facility and manpower, following the take-over of South Africa’s Protea Group by Marriot International of the US. Both are internatonal brands.

The acquisition which was concluded on April 1, cost $200 million, and the Protea Group was before now, the leader in African hospitality offering.

Folasade Ogunsanya, a Lagos-based hospitality expert, said as much as the takeover is a welcomed development, “Marriot should improve on service and facility offerings of Protea”, which according to her, “is not uniform across the country. With Marriot now in charge, I expect same product offerings, uniform and better service and facility offerings at affordable rates too. Taking over does not means guests can no longer afford services at Protea again”, she urged.

The final acquisition and take over, according to information published  by Marriott International, Inc, added 116 hotels from Protea Group and now makes the US-based hotel group to nearly double its presence in its Middle East and Africa region to more than 160 hotels and 23,000 rooms.

Marriott-International

At the same time, Marriott, which operates or franchises more than 4,000 hotels in 79 countries, said that its pipeline of new hotels in the Middle East and Africa, including Protea’s pipeline, is now more than 65 hotels and 14,300 rooms, including more than 20 hotels and 3,000 rooms in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially Nigeria.

Marriot’s interest in Africa’s hospitality business is in line with the World Bank’s recent forecast that Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at a more than 5 percent pace through 2015, with Nigeria among the leaders.

With the new status, Marriott’s new Protea portfolio consists of 10,148 rooms in seven African countries including South Africa. The company now manages, franchises and leases hotels across the Protea Hotels brand (103 hotels), comprising a full and diverse range of outstanding hotels and resorts; the award-winning lifestyle boutique Protea Hotel Fire & Ice (2 hotels); and the superior deluxe African Pride Hotels collection (11 hotels). In addition to its industry-leading 79 hotels in South Africa, Marriott’s Protea portfolio also has 37 hotels in Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Speaking on the feat, Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive officer, Marriott International, said, “Today marks a new beginning. We can now officially say ‘molweni!’ (Xhosa language), ‘sawubona!’(Zulu language) and ‘hello!’ to South Africa and ‘welcome!’ to our approximately 15,000 new associates at both managed and franchised hotels across Protea’s portfolio.

“ We look forward to integrating the superb Protea team into the Marriott International family, and together, to work toward new opportunities for growth and advancement throughout South Africa and the continent.”

Also commenting on the final acquisition, Alex Kyriakidis, president/ managing director, Marriott International’s Middle East and Africa (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 Arthur Gillis, Protea chief executive officer, is now joining the Marriott International family.

OBINNA EMELIKE