|Bangkok Post, Thailand|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jun. 2, 2005 - Sansiri Plc has sold its Sofitel Silom Hotel for 1.2 billion baht to LaSalle Investment Management, a multinational real estate investment company, in partnership with Accor Asia Pacific, according to executives.
The listed developer will earn a profit of nearly 520 million baht on the deal, having acquired the 454-room hotel in August 2002 for 684 million baht.
LaSalle Investment Management, which manages more than US$26.4 billion worth of public and private assets for leading institutions, said it would look for opportunities to buy additional office, retail, industrial, residential and hotel assets in Thailand and Asia.
The three parties signed an agreement on Tuesday, with Sansiri to receive the proceeds from the transaction this week.
Sansiri CEO Apichart Chutrakul said the funds would be used to repay loans borrowed from financial institutions and to finance future business expansion.
The company is aiming to penetrate the medium-priced market with both condominiums and single housing projects. Six new single-housing projects will be launched in the second half of this year.
Sansiri also wants to strengthen its financial position with a plan to reduce its current debt-to-equity ratio from 1.76 times to below one time by the end of this year.
Andrew Heithersay, national director of LaSalle Investment Management, said the transaction was the second major property investment in Thailand.
Sansiri acquired the Sofitel Silom Hotel, formerly the Monarch Lee Gardens, by acquiring all of the shares of its owner, Richee Holding Alliance Co Ltd, in August 2002.
Shares of Sansiri (SIRI) closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 3.04 baht, up two satang, in trade worth 2.69 million baht.
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