Millennium & Copthorne dropped further hints last week that it is looking hard at the REIT option for its owned assets.
It is considering both injecting assets into its existing REIT it set up last year in Singapore and creating new REITs for new territories, including London where it has a strong presence.
There was no definite confirmation of the REIT strategy, however, which is not surprising given that the new CEO Peter Papas will only take up the reins for the first time tomorrow.
The biggest chunk of hotel property in the group sits in London where it has £563m worth, according to an NAV analysis by Citigroup. The three New York properties are the next most valuable grouping out of a portfolio worth close to £2.5bn.
Despite the heavy UK presence, M&C said that the creation of a UK REIT was unlikely due to tax efficiency issue.
Other ways of crystallising value may be on the cards, however. It was suggested that London’s Copthorne Tara may be converted into flats, a move already proposed for the Thistle at Lancaster Gate.
Pre-tax profits at M&C for the year to December 31 showed a rise of 27.6% to £94.4m. Group revpar was up 8.1% or 8.9% at constant exchange rates.