Italian Government sponsored Fondo Strategico Italiano will subscribe a 60 million pounds (about 56 million euros) capital increase for a 23% stake in the capital of Gruppo Rocco Forte Hotel, FSI announced last Friday November 7th (download here the press release).
“This is a first step in the touristic sector for FSI. Italy has a huge potential in attracting tourists and in the valorisation of its cultural and artistic properties, which means in turn a huge potential in creating business and employment”, FSI’s ceo Maurizio Tamagnini said in the FSI’s statement.
The deal will be conducted by both Fondo Strategico and Fsi Investimenti (a company controlled by FSI with a 77% stake and by the Kuwait Investment Authority for the rest, download here the press release). The control of the British group will remain in the hands of Sir Rocco Forte, the son of the hotels tycoon Charles Forte, who startd his career from a smal bar in Scotland and created an empire owning about 800 hotels and 1200 restaurants back in the Eighties.
New cash from FSI will be used to finance the group’s business growth both internationally and in Italy, with a particular focus in Sicily and in the cities of Venice, Milan and Naples. Rocco Forte will more and more act as an hotel manager. Actually the new deals will be actually structured in coinvestment with a new real estate fund launched by the Italian Government investment arm Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (Cdp) by its real estate funds management company, Cdp Investimenti sgr. The new fund, Fondo Investimenti Turismo (Fit), will invest in real estate hotels and resort properties,
Rocco Forte Hotels, one of the leading managers of five stars luxury hotels in the world, with 11 hotels in Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, Russia and Belgium, is already well focused on Italy with hotels in Sicily (Verdura Resort, close to Sciacca town), Florence (Hotel Savoy) and Rome (Hotel de Russie) and with Italy that has a heavy weight both on sales and ebitda of the group. Italy actually represented a 32% stake of 181 million pounds total sales of the group in fiscal year ending last April 2014, where Germany represented a 27%, UK a 24%, Russia a 10% amd Belgium a 7%. As for the ebitda, Italy represented a 24% stake of a total of 29.5 million pounds, while UK weoghted for as 39%, Germany and Russia for a 10% each and Belgium for a 7%. Finally employees are about 600 in Italy on a total of 2200 on a global basis.
The group has a net financial debt of 183.3 million pounds at end of last April, counting debt related to real estate properties.
Fit, the new real estate fund by Cdp, which is due to coinvest together with Rocco Forte in its next deals, will start its activity with about 500 million euros in cash by Cdp and real estate properties coming from some public entities. «Fit will act together with other institutional investors and above all with Fondo Valorizzazioni Immobiliari” Cdpi sgr’s ceo, Marco Sangiorgio, told in the same FSI’s statement. “We will start with 4 real estate properties coming from Fiv located in Venice, Bergamo and in the Provinces of Verona and Turin for a total value of 90 million euros after restructuring and restyling”.
FSI-Cdp statement says that “other real estate properties having the right characteristics to be transformed in hotels and resorts might be brought to the fund by other operators”, the latter statement meaning that also Italian banks might bring their real estate properties being collateral of non performing loans in their portfolios, MF-Milano Finanza wrote last Saturday November 8th