ITC eyes managed properties in adjacent countries
Diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd is exploring managed hotels overseas, particularly, in markets “adjacent” to India.
New properties are being looked at in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. Managed properties will be under the “WelcomHotel” brand.
According to Sanjiv Puri, Chairman and Managing Director, ITC’s Nepal subsidiary, Surya Nepal, is already exploring “some opportunities” there.
“The Nepal subsidiary is looking at some opportunities; while, we can look at other adjacent markets to India,” he told media persons following the inauguration of the company’s second hotel in Kolkata.
Built at a cost of ₹1,400 crore, the ITC Royal Bengal will have 456 rooms making it one of the largest properties for the company. “WelcomHotel would look at managed properties both India and outside,” Puri added.
Apart from WelcomHotel, the other hotel brands owned by Sanjiv Puri, Chairman & Managing Director, ITC
ITC Ltd include ITC Hotels, WelcomHeritage and Fortune. ITC Ltd is constructing its first overseas property at Colombo in Sri Lanka. The hotel (brand ITC Hotels) is expected to go onstream by the end of next fiscal.
Presence in Sri Lanka
While Puri did not specify how much investments have gone into it, he did point out that the recent terror attacks on the island nation, have not altered the company’s plans to bring its Colombo property on-stream.
“There is no change in timeline. These projects have long gestation periods (construction). If there are changes in the operating environment we have to take that into account,” he said.
On the domestic front, managed properties are expected to grow over a period of time.
Of the 108 hotels they own and manage across the four brands, the break-up between owned and managed properties will be to the tune of 50:50. The WelcomHotel brand is being relaunched to focus more on managed properties, Puri said adding that 13-14 hotels are expected under the brand over the next few years. Hill stations and resort locations will be the focus.
“We have quite a large footprint across different locations. So we feel it is the right time to explore an asset-light strategy. This means, we can use our expertise to help and manage other properties. Even the WelcomHotel brand is being relaunched,” he added.
Approximately, 20 per cent of the ₹20,000 crore that the company is investing in India will be towards its hotels division.
Investments in Bengal
According to Puri, an additional ₹1,700 crore will be invested in Bengal over the next 3-5 years as the conglomerate looks to set up a personal care manufacturing facility in Howrah. Land acquisition is already on for the facility.
ITC already has existing personal care manufacturing facilities in Haridwar and Guwahati.