• Rocco joins manage back trend

Rocco Forte Hotels is to join in the trend of separating property assets from operations and is seeking a sale and manage back of its Cardiff and Manchester hotels.
   The 12-strong group is seeking £75m for the pair in a move that is expected to release funds for further growth.
   The privately held company reported record revenues in its most recent results issued in December for the year 2005, with sales up 15% to £107.7m. Pre-tax profits were up 3.9% to £12.9m.
   The four UK hotels provide a third of turnover but a much smaller proportion of profit which the company blames on high overheads at its UK properties. A sale and manage back is probably intended to ameliorate this problem.
   Meanwhile, Accor has sold two of its Sofitels in the US in a manage back deal that raised $255m for the total of 704 rooms in New York and Philadelphia.
   Accor has retained a 25% stake in the JV that owns the hotel and also has a 25-year management contract. The buyer is the GEM Realty Capital and Whitehall Street vehicle created back in March last year that already owns six US Sofitels.

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