|The Yomiuri ShimbunMcClatchy-Tribune
Nov. 4, 2006 - -TOKYO -- As part of the reorganization of its hotel and resort operations, the Seibu group is to sell three large hotel and resort facilities in Alaska. Hawaii and Toronto this fiscal year, it has been learned.
The group also is to sell the Roppongi Prince Hotel in Minato Ward, Tokyo.
The combined sales of the four facilities are projected to top ¥150 billion, which will be used to reorganize the group's hotel business. The sales will enable the group to reduce its consolidated, interest-bearing debts to less than ¥1 trillion by the business term ending in March 2008, a year earlier than originally planned, a group source said.
The group will sell the Makena Resort, which consists of the 310-room Maui Prince Hotel, the Makena Golf Course, and about 5 million square meters of land zoned for condominium buildings in Makena, Hawaii.
The Seibu group had been active in the development of Maui island since the 1980s. But as competition in international resorts has been intensifying, the group will pull out of Maui, and concentrate its business resources into hotels and other facilities in the neighboring islands of Oahu and Hawaii, the source said.
The group had a local affiliate begin procedures for the sales of the Makena Resort in September, with real estate companies and funds at home and abroad showing interest in it.
The group will sell the Alyeska Resort, comprising the 304-room Alyeska Prince Hotel, an adjoining golf course and ski resort, in Alaska, as well as the 384-room Toronto Prince Hotel. When the sales are complete, the group's overseas' hotel operations will be reduced to those in Hawaii (excluding Maui), Malaysia and Taiwan.
When it opened in 1984, the 216-room Roppongi Prince Hotel drew much attention as a new urban hotel, for its innovative design of having a swimming pool in the courtyard.
But as competition with other large hotels in the neighborhood has increased, the group plans to close the hotel on Dec. 25. Currently, Prince Hotels, Seibu Railway Co. and other firms under the umbrella of Seibu Holdings Inc. own and operate 75 hotels in Japan and overseas.
Through the sales of hotel facilities, including the four large ones, the group, which started a complete reorganization of its hotel operations last year, will pare its hotel operations down to just over 60.
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