Malta’s iconic Corinthia brand is continuing preparations to launch five new hotels in 2023 and 2024, despite parent company International Hotel Investments’ (IHI) uncertainty surrounding its operations in Russia and Libya, due to conflict in both regions.
IHI provided details in a Financial Analysis Summary posted on the Malta Stock Exchange’s website on Thursday, which analysed financial data up to 31st December 2021, prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Through these openings, IHI is planning to continue the expansion of the Corinthia brand, and is also aiming to expand into the four-star hotel sector.
The Group commenced plans for the opening of a new Corinthia Hotel in Brussels in 2016 after the acquisition of the former Grand Hotel Astoria by NLI Holdings Ltd, in which IHI is a 50 per cent shareholder. Parts of the hotel are set to be restored while others will be completely reconstructed, with the opening planned for 2024.
Corinthia Grand Hotel Astoria Brussels / Website
A new hotel in Bucharest is also set to open after Corinthia Hotels Limited (CHL) reached a management agreement with the owners of the former Grand Hotel du Boulevard, transforming it into the Corinthia Hotel Bucharest. The opening date was originally set for 2022, but it is now set to open in 2023.
Additionally, the Group is also planning to open a new Corinthia Hotel in Doha in 2024, along with a beach and yacht club that are set to open later this year.
CHL entered into an agreement to operate and manage a Corinthia Hotel in New York after excessive refurbishment is done to a hotel acquired by the private investment giant Reuben Brothers in 2020. The Group plans to open the new hotel in early 2023.
It also reached a lease agreement to operate a redeveloped hotel property in Rome that is being funded by a third-party investor, with the property being the former seat of the Bank of Italy in the city’s Parliament Square. Works are ongoing for the building to be converted into a luxury hotel featuring 60 guest rooms and suites, set to open in 2023.
IHI has also continued to refurbish its founding hotel and the birthplace of the Corinthia brand, the Corinthia Palace in Attard. Works include “significant improvement” to the hotel’s amenities and food and beverage facilities. Additionally, a wider refurbishment plan is now being planned, with design work “well underway” for most indoor and outdoor areas of the hotel, including all bedrooms and Villa Corinthia, the original high-end restaurant where CPHCL Company Limited started its journey in the hospitality industry in 1962.
All of these improvements and developments come at a time when the Group's hotels in Russia and Libya are facing uncertainty.
Indeed, IHI is deeply invested into developments regarding Russia’s war with Ukraine, and the resulting sanctions that have been imposed.
IHI has owned the iconic Corinthia St Petersburg in Russia for 20 years. In February 2019, IHI acquired a 10 per cent minority share in a company formed with a consortium of investors to acquire a landmark property at 10, Tverskaya Street, Moscow – dubbed the Moscow project – for US$5.5 million (€5.2 million).
The company confirmed that development works are presently underway on the asset to turn it into a mixed-use real estate project including a luxury boutique 42-room Corinthia hotel, 109 upmarket residential serviced apartments for re-sale, high-end retail, commercial outlets and underground parking.
The asset is located on a prestigious boulevard in Moscow close to Red Square in a highly popular shopping, cultural and business location, as well as a luxury hotspot with other competing luxury brands, all in close proximity of each other. Development works are presently underway.
“In 2021, discussions proceeded by this company with funding banks, authorities and contractors with a view to commencing works later in 2022. Further progress on this project is dependent on the current situation in Russia, in particular the curtailment of flight schedules and international sanctions guiding IHI’s decisions. IHI’s involvement in the project anyway remains that of a non-controlling minority shareholder,” IHI said in its financial analysis.
“Sanctions imposed on Russia and counter sanctions that Russia itself has introduced are being carefully monitored and fully adhered to by the Group on the advice of its specialist legal advisors,” the Group added, before adding that the consequence of the situation will mostly depend on the conflict’s duration.
IHI also has a 55 per cent equity participation in Libya Hotel Development and Investment JSC, which acquired a building previously known as the El-Jazeera Hotel, nicknamed the ‘Benghazi Project’, which will be developed into a mixed-use project containing a 228-room five-star hotel, as well as 2,000 square metres of retail space and 10,000 square metres of office space.
While the planning permits for the project were initially issued in 2014, the uncertain situation and growing political polarisation in Libya has since put works on hold.
Malta-based IHI has owned and managed numerous hotels in four different continents, while it has also delved into residential and commercial real estate markets through several investments in subsidiary and associate companies.
In Malta, it currently owns Corinthia Oasis, Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa, Corinthia St George’s Bay, Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Radisson Blu Resort, and Martina Hotel Corinthia Beach Resort.
Corinthia St George's Bay / Facebook