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Caterer and Hotelkeeper – 6691

Air France considers bids for Méridien…

THE board of Air France meets today to decide between bids from Forte, Accor and Kempinski for Méridien, the luxury hotel chain in which it has a 57% stake.

It is understood the French government, from a desire to keep Méridien in French hands, favours Accor’s bid, which is said to value the company at Ffr1.6b (£186m), over Forte’s offer worth Ffr1.8b (£209.3m).

However, it has also been suggested that if the lower bid were accepted, the government would have difficulty getting EC approval for its proposed Ffr20b (£2.32b) rescue plan for Air France.

Earlier this week, Méridien chairman and chief executive officer Jean-Didier Blanchet issued a statement giving his support to the Forte bid.

He said Méridien executives had reviewed the merits of the three bids and “by a vast majority” were convinced Forte was the best way forward for the chain.

Forte entered the fray in earnest earlier this year after seeing its offer for Ciga Hotels trumped by ITT Sheraton, whose own bid now appears to have collapsed.

…as Forte sells Dôme chain

ROGER Myers, chairman of the Pelican Group, is in final negotiations to buy Forte’s 12-strong Dôme café-bar chain for about £10m.

Mr Myers, who opened the first Dôme for Courage before Forte acquired the chain in 1986 through the Imperial acquisition, is thought to be hoping to raise the money from Pelican’s existing shareholders.

After ostensibly taking Dôme off the market in November 1991, Forte introduced the brand into two of its hotels, but it is not clear what would happen to those units after disposal.

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