Orient-Express to sell up to 3 properties and focus on improving financial performance
After rejecting a bid by Tata Group’s Indian Hotels Co., earlier this year, Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. is focusing on improving financial performance before considering any mergers and acquisitions. John Scott, the CEO of Orient Express (formerly the CEO of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts) told Bloomberg in a recent interview: “My job is to make sure we have a solid business model and that we are growing earnings and getting our stock price up. If we do that, it leads to opportunities. Then we can look at mergers and acquisitions more aggressively. If approached at that point, the board would take it seriously.”
Aside from new management contracts and the completion of renovations, which include adding and updating rooms or converting them into higher-priced suites, Orient-Express also is trying to sell some assets it doesn’t consider essential, Scott said. The company said in a May 3 filing that it plans to seek buyers for as many as three properties, giving it proceeds of as much as $70 million.
As for expansion of its hotel chain, Orient-Express is focused on New York, Los Angeles and Miami, and in Europe the company is in “active talks” for two hotel management contracts in London and on a“couple of different opportunities” in Rome. Scott has also confirmed that Orient-Express is seeking to expand to expand its luxury-train service in Europe.