IRE snatches Austrian hotels

Leading hotel chain NH Hotels has sold two resorts in Austria in a bid to reduce its debts.Spanish media report today (Fri) that the Madrid-based company sold its hotel in Salzburg and at Vienna International Airport (VIA) to German firm Invesco Real Estate (IRE). The company, which has its headquarters in Munich, also acquired three NH Hotels in Germany.NH Hotels received an overall 168 million Euros from IRE in the sale and leaseback deal. The firms agreed that NH Hotels will continue to run the resorts under their current name. The Spanish tourism industry group has debts of around one billion Euros, according to newspapers. NH Hotels also manage five hotels in the Austrian capital Vienna.NH Hotels announced IRE may also purchase its hotels in the French cities of Paris, Lyon, Barcelona in Spain, Berlin in Germany and Glasgow, Scotland.The Spanish firm has around 350 hotels with more than 50,000 rooms in 22 countries in Europe, Africa and South America. Most NH Hotels are resorts of the four-star category.News of IRE’s takeover of hotels in Austria and Germany comes on the heels of a study showing that the number of stays at expensive hotels in Austria is on the rise while cheap competitors struggle.The Association of Hotel Managers in Austria said its latest research revealed that the overall number of overnight stays at hotels of the four- and five-star categories improved by four per cent from January 2010 to the same month of this year. The organisation added that one- and two-star hotels suffered a 0.7 per cent decline at the same time.An overall 14.39 million overnight stays were registered across the country in January, up by 3.7 per cent to the same month of 2010.