Golden Tulip Hospitality Group, which has 780 hotels around the world, has become the latest victim of the global recession and has been forced to seek protection from its creditors.
The Dutch-based group has filed for suspension of payments and is now looking to merge its hotel division with Apollo Hotel & Resorts, owned by European Hotel Management.
The talks also involve H2 Equity Partners, a Dutch private equity group, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Golden Tulip has 75,000 rooms across more than 50 countries, with brands including Tulip Inn, Golden Tulip and the five-star Royal Tulip.
Founded in 1962, it went into partnership with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in the 1970s, and became part of the Spanish group NH Hotels in 2001, before demerging in a management buy-out the following year.
Hans Kennedie, chief executive of Golden Tulip, blamed the impact of the recession on leisure and hospitality, saying occupancy outside the Netherlands and Belgium had declined substantially in the last three quarters.
"This, in combination with the investment costs of new hotels, has lead to a loss-making situation and a shortage of liquidity for Golden Tulip. As a result the group is currently unable to finance planned investments in existing and new hotels," he said.
The group said receivership would not effect operations as most of the hotels were run by independent franchisees.
Golden Tulip UK, which held the territory franchise for Britain from Golden Tulip Hospitality Group and operated hotels under its Tulip Inn and Golden Tulip hotel brands, was swallowed up by Whitbread in 2007.
By Gemma Sharkey
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