Hotel Sacher boss eyes rival’s €85mn stake

Hotel Sacher boss Elisabeth Gürtler has set her sights on a leading hotel management group, it has emerged.Austrian business newspapers report today (Tues) that the businesswoman is considering acquiring the 52.1 per cent stake that the B&C Holding is currently holding in the Imperial Hotels Austria AG.Such a move would put Gürtler in charge of some of Austria’s most famous hotels including the Hotel Imperial and the Bristol in Vienna and the Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg. The share is worth around 85 million Euros, according to analysts. The Imperial Hotels Austria AG has 350 employees. It had a turnover of nearly 31 million Euros in 2009.Gürtler, who also heads Vienna’s Spanish Riding School (SRS), organised the pompous Vienna State Opera Ball for many years. She refused to comment on today’s reports.A decision whether Gürtler will become the new major stakeholder of the hotel management firm could be made as early as 28 February when the Imperial Hotels Austria AG supervisory board is set to meet.Competition among Vienna’s five-star hotels intensified last December when a 24th establishment of this category opened in the Leopoldstadt district. French architect Jean Nouvel designed the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom Hotel, whose 18-storeys contain 182 rooms.Michaela Reitterer, head of the Austrian Hotel Industry Association’s (ÖHV) Viennese department, warned that competition for less expensive hotels could also become tougher as 14 new ones are currently being planned or built. The number of hotel rooms in the city will rise by 4,500 to 31,200 when all of these hotels start operating, she explained.With 10.2 million, hotels in the Austrian capital recorded more overnight stays than ever before last year. Viennese hotels currently charge an average 96 Euros for a standard double room, according to travel price comparison website Trivago.