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Hilton Group to Sell 11 UK Hotels; Rationalising Portfolio
 with More Interest in UK City Centre Sites
By Iain Dey, The Business, London
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Nov. 14, 2004 - Hilton Group is putting 11 of its hotels up for sale as part of a shake-up of its estate expected to raise between 80 million pounds (115 million euros, $149 million) and 100 million pounds. The portfolio being sold represents 15 percent of the group's UK hotels.

A spokesman for the group said: "Hilton can confirm that we are putting 11 hotels to market from Monday 15 November. We are unable to say which hotels are affected until consultation with our staff has been completed."

Industry sources believe the hotels are likely to attract attention from a number of the smaller hotel chain operators. One said: "It's been an open secret in the trade for a while now that Hilton are looking to rationalise their portfolio. They've already sold the Hilton Keswick [Cumbria] and they sold the two Aviemore hotels. What they're really interested in now is city centre sites."

Hilton has announced plans to open four new UK hotels, including hotels at Canary Wharf and Tower Bridge in London. It is understood four more sites in UK city centres are close to being announced. Most of these projects will see Hilton run a management contract for a property company.

Whitbread, the UK's biggest hotels company through its Marriott and Travel Inn brands, is not believed to be interested in any of the sites it believes to be coming up for sale.

Hilton currently runs 77 UK hotels, with a total of more than 16,000 rooms. Last year the UK hotels business made profits of 82.6 million pounds on turnover of 621.4 million pounds.

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