The general manager of London's Halkin and Metropolitan hotels has quashed press speculation that their Singapore-based owner is seeking a buyer.
Nicholas Rettie was emphatic that the properties were highly successful and not on the market. He dismissed reports that owner and entrepreneur Ong Beng Seng has received offers of £100m for the two hotels but is holding out for £150m.
Rettie believes observers have looked at some of Ong's disposals in the past six months, including that of his 50% stake in London's Four Seasons hotel, in the light of the Asian financial turmoil and "added two and two together to come up with seventeen-and-a-half".
He suspects the stories may have arisen from property companies seeking to bring together prospective buyers and sellers, which can involve them "putting out documents often without the authority of the owners".