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ITC Hotels to focus on premium luxury segment 12 Jan 2012

The Hindu Business Line

ITC plans to add 5,000 hotel rooms in the next five-seven years across four brands, according to a top company official. The company plans to have a portfolio of about 150 hotels in the years to come.

In an e-mail interaction, Mr Nakul Anand, Executive Director, ITC Ltd, told Business Line that there are about 40 hotels under various stages of development, “which will be either owned or managed by us under one of the four brands”.

According to him, the company has three-four hotels under construction in the premium luxury segment and another six-seven hotels on the drawing board, while about 28 Fortune hotels and five WelcomHeritage properties are in the pipeline.

Mr Anand said in the immediate future, three ITC luxury hotels have been planned - a 600-room integrated hotel complex, the ITC Grand Chola in Chennai; a 400-room hotel adjacent to the ITC Sonar in Kolkata; and a luxury resort at the ITC Classic Golf Resort in Gurgaon. The company also plans a property close to Mahabalipuram near Chennai. “The focus will be to expand in the super-premium luxury segment,” he added. All these investments would be funded through internal sources, he said.

ITC recently introduced a sub-brand - My Fortune - under its Fortune brand. The Fortune brand comprises upscale or four-star category properties.

The company has re-branded its Chola Sheraton property in Chennai as a ‘My Fortune' hotel. According to Mr Anand, a 114-room ‘My Fortune' hotel was under construction on Residency Road in Bangalore.

Besides, ITC has also re-branded properties under the WelcomHeritage brand as legend, heritage and nature hotels, he said.

On rupee depreciation impacting revenues, Mr Anand said the company quotes in the Indian currency and “therefore fluctuations in the dollar do not directly impact our business”.

In fact, he pointed out that rupee devaluation has enabled a larger segment of people to use luxury hotels “thereby inducing growth in volumes”.

On whether the company would look at raising its stake in EIH and Hotel Leelaventure in 2012, he said investments in the hospitality business are “part of our routine treasury operations and reflects our strategic intent to invest in businesses in which we have knowledge and expertise”.

© ITC Limited