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No plans of sell stake: EIH Chairman

New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) The promoters of East India Hotels have no plan to sell stake in the company, P.R.S. Oberoi, founder and chairman of the Oberoi group, said Friday.

‘We have no plans at the moment,’ Oberoi told reporters on being asked if the promoters were mulling a dilution.

EIH promoters, including the Oberoi family, hold about 46.4 percent in the Oberoi and Trident hotel chains.

Last year, the market was rife with rumours about a proposed strategic sale to the Max India Chairman Analjit Singh, who holds

9 percent.

Oberoi said the group is developing a hotel under the Trident brand with Singh in Dehradun.

Also, FMCG-to-hospitality business group ITC has been steadily increasing its stake in EIH, which now stands at 14.98 percent.

If ITC’s stake in EIH goes past 15 percent, it will have to come out with an open offer as per the Securities and Exchange Board of India guidelines.

Asked about ITC’s buying of EIH stock, Oberoi said: ‘If somebody wants, we can’t stop people buying from the stock market.’

Oberoi also said the company’s expansion plans are on track and said by 2015, the group is going to double its rooms to over 6,000 across its properties around the world. Also, two new hotels in partnership with Jubilee Hotels will come up in Hyderabad in the next 18 months at a cost of around Rs.650 crore.

The Oberoi group’s investment in these two properties will be around Rs.24 crore.

It will invest about Rs.100 crore in 2010-11 towards renovation of existing properties, four of which figured in leading magazine Travel and Leisure’s global rankings of top hotels.

The group’s property Vanyavilas in Ranthambhore was ranked as the best hotel in the world, while Amarvilas, Rajvilas and Udaivilas, were ranked 5th, 13th and 15th respectively.

Among some new properties being built are a Rs.300 crore hotel in Morocco, for which EIH’s investment will be Rs.24 crore and a resort hotel at Chandigarh.

Asked about the impact of the European economic crisis on the Indian hospitality sector, Oberoi said this may affect tourist traffic from the continent.

‘I am a little concerned’ as many of the customers are from Europe,

he said.

The Oberoi Group operates 28 hotels and three cruisers in five countries under the luxury ”Oberoi” and five-star ”Trident” brands.

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