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MWB sells five-star Howard hotel for £75m

09 November 2004 by

Marylebone Warwick Balfour has exchanged contracts to sell its 91-year leasehold interest in London's five-star Howard hotel for £75m to property investment firm Samosir.

The deal is expected to be completed later this month.

Samosir is owned by the Ho family from Hong Kong. Its properties include the Arundel Great Court office building that surrounds the Howard in Temple Place.

Property firm MWB, which bought the Howard from Raffles International for £40m in 2000, put the hotel up for sale in September.

Since then the hotel has undergone a £14.8m refurbishment that included the addition of two extra floors, which boosted bedroom numbers from 141 to 189.

MWB chief executive Richard Balfour-Lynn said the group had done as much as it could to transform the hotel.

"During the four and a half years of our ownership, we have created a major asset that produces a guaranteed income stream from a first class operator," he said.

The sale price exceeds the £69m valuation placed on the hotel in June. It will leave MWB with net cash of £28.5m which it will use to reduce debt and invest in its Malmaison hotel chain.

Raffles brand Swissôtel has managed the hotel for MWB under an agreement that runs until 2020 and which will continue under the new owner.

The deal provides a guaranteed minimum income of £4.5m a year, rising to £4.72m by 2009.

The sale follows MWB's £66.4m acquisition of the Hotel du Vin chain last month.

by Angela Frewin

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