L - R - Saurabh Chawla, Pierre-Frédéric Roulot, Anil Madhok, Ajay K. Bakaya
Putting to rest speculations and uncertainties about one of the largest ever hotel deal in India, Louvre Hotels Group, a wholly owned hospitality vertical of Chinese travel conglomerate, Jin Jiang International, and Indian mid-market hotel company, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, jointly announced their merger. Without divulging the size of the deal or the exact division of stake in the merged entity, spokesmen of both the companies announced the fructification of the deal, in which, Louvre Hotels will have a commanding majority stake in Sarovar Hotels & Resorts.
Announcing the Joint Venture deal here today, Anil Madhok, Managing Director of Sarovar Hotels & Resorts said that in the fast evolving hotel landscape, companies cannot grow in isolation and therefore the merger with Louvre Hotels will help Sarovar to expand rapidly both in India and in Africa. He said that the merger will give them more muscle power in distribution and market access to potential markets in the world. “OTA commissions are huge. With the merger, we will be able to renegotiate the commission to our benefit,” he said.
Addressing the media, Ajay Bakaya, Executive Director, Sarovar Hotels said that while the hotel company has come a long way in the last two decades as a leading mid-market hotel company, the business landscape has changed over the last five years demanding strategies to live ahead of times and competitions. Technology and distribution are biggest differentiators for hotel companies today. The merger of the company with Louvre Hotels, he said, will give Sarovar the technology support and market access to world’s largest potential travel market. “We will continue to develop both Sarovar and Louvre brands in India. We will be able to offer more rainbow brands to our owners,” he added.
Notwithstanding the merger, Sarovar Hotels will continue to keep its identity in the market unchanged, informed Pierre Frederic Roulot, CEO, Jin Jiang Europe. “We are a multi-local group, which respects the local partners and their strengths. They understand the market and people better. We can give more technological help as well as market access,” he said. Roulot said that they are not averse to taking Sarovar brand to international markets where there is large Indian population.
Calling the JV, a strategically significant partnership, Saurabh Chawla, Head of Group Development, Louvre Hotels said that at the group level, together they will become one of the largest players with footprint in about 44 cities across the country. He said that the company is keen to bring more brands into India including the Campanile into India.
Louvre Hotels Group has an ongoing 50:50 JV with Vimal Singh to develop Golden Tulip and Royal Tulip brands in South Asia market.
Louvre Hotels, originally a French hotel company was acquired by Chinese travel conglomerate, Jin Jiang, in February 2015, and currently have more than 1,200 hotels in 54 countries with approx 1 lac hotel rooms under operation. The owning company, Jin Jiang, has 4300 hotels in China alone.