Rocco Forte Hotels is again gunning for growth thanks to £60m of investment funds secured from finance sources in Italy.
Company founder Sir Rocco Forte (pictured) outlined his plans to double the size of the business over the next five years after the Italian state-backed sovereign fund Fondo Strategico Italiano put £60m into the company in exchange for a 23% stake, reported the Times.
The announcement follows a prolonged period of cutbacks for the company, which saw a 40% drop in sales after global bank Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
Cost-cutting efforts included the sale of the five-AA-star, 165-bedroom Lowry hotel in Manchester to the Westmont Hospitality Group and its investment partner Mount Kellett Capital Management for an undisclosed sum, in September.
Sir Rocco said he is "not somebody who likes to be on the defensive" and expressed relief to be "back on the attack" as he revealed areas of interest for the hotel group, such as a development in Venice believed to be at an "advanced stage of discussion".
Projects in Milan, Naples and Sicily are being actively pursued, while the company is also looking into opportunities in New York, Paris and Madrid.
A new property will open in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, next summer under a management contract and the company was close to signing a further contract for a new development in Shanghai, he said.
Established by Sir Rocco in 1996, Rocco Forte Hotels currently comprises two properties in the UK: the Balmoral in Edinburgh and Brown's in London, as well as eight overseas including the Hotel de Russie, Rome; Hotel Savoy, Florence; Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg; Hotel Amigo, Brussels; Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt; Hotel de Rome, Berlin; the Charles hotel, Munich; and Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily.