The Rocco Forte Collection has taken the next step in its expansion outside Europe, agreeing a management contract on Egyptian luxury hotel The Shepheard.
The group, headed by veteran hotelier Sir Rocco Forte, has been appointed by the hotel's owner, The Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels, to manage the 279-room property alongside the Nile in Cairo.
The Rocco Forte Collection will take on temporary management of The Shepheard as of November, running it outside of its main brand. The hotel will then close in December 2010 for total refurbishment and renovations, before re-opening in the last quarter of 2012.
The company announced its intention to expand outside Europe in 2007 and has already signed management contracts in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Morocco through its partnership with Kuwait Projects Company. The deals will see new hotels in Abu Dhabi and Jeddah in 2010 and a resort in Marrakech in 2011.
The Cairo announcement came after it emerged that the Rocco Forte Collection, a joint venture between Forte and HBOS, is in talks with the bank about restructuring the company.
A spokesman for Rocco Forte Collection admitted it was "over-geared" and that talks were under way to find a solution. The talks, he said, were "not unrelated" to the group's decision to put its Le Richemond hotel in Geneva on the market.
In June, Forte revealed that he was looking for a new long-term partner suggesting that the Collection is "no longer a core business" for HBOS.
"I think that over a sensible period of time they will want to move out (of the joint venture), so we've got to replace them," he told The Times.
By Daniel Thomas
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