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Taj Hotels' $150-mn warchest for buyouts

November 26, 2004 11:43 IST

In what may be one of the largest expansion by an Indian hotel chain, Taj Hotels is using a $150 million war-chest to acquire new properties and upgrade its existing hotels across the world.

Besides, it is also planning to open hotels in China, UK and in the US as a part of its international expansion plans. The hotel chain will either acquire or build greenfield properties in these cities.

In China, the property could be in Beijing or Shanghai, and in the US its first property will be in New York. In London, it also hopes to have its second property.

"These cities have been identified as the major area of thrust. We will have to have properties there," said Raymond Bickson, managing director, Indian Hotels Company Limited, the company that manages the Taj Hotels group of hotels. Bickson, however, did not give a time frame to set up properties in these locations.

Besides, the company is also embarking on a major investment plans for its budget hotels. It plans to invest Rs 150 crore a year to set up at least 10 - 15 budget hotels.

The hotel chain has also entered into a management contract with Umaid Bhawan Place, Jodhpur for a period of 25 years. AS per the agreement between the two, about Rs 50 crore will be invested in the property to upgrade its facilities.

This new property will form a part of the north India circuit of the Taj Group. The property will have 30 rooms and 15 suits and in the future the total number of rooms will be increased to 70. "North India is a key tourist destination and the Taj continues to consolidate its presence in the region," said Bickson.

BS Corporate Bureau in New Delhi