• Prince proves his point

Prince Alwaleed might have been criticised by Barry Sternlicht for paying an “extraordinary” price for Four Seasons earlier this month at the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin.

But the Prince’s hotel investments have proved pretty sound to date, as the year-end results from both Movenpick and Kingdom Hotel Investments showed.

The listed KHI delivered a 67% hike in EBITDA to US$30m despite the blip announced earlier in the month due to the war in Lebanon affecting its Beirut hotel.

Switzerland-based Movenpick too reported strong EBITDA numbers, with a 22% rise to CHF17.8m. Four hotels were opened in 2006 and an additional nine management agreements were signed.

The intention is to take Movenpick from its current 58 hotels to 100 hotels by 2010. It has taken its first steps into Asia by winning a management agreement on a resort in Phuket and has signed a deal for a hotel in Bangalore that will open in 2008.

These robust numbers and prospects only reinforce the Prince’s decisions. As did Four Seasons’ year-end figures earlier this month which showed revpar worldwide up 11.8% for the year and operating earnings up 43% to US$80m.

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