|Singapore, February 28, 2006 - The hearing of the trial on a claim
for damages brought by Asia Hotel Investments Ltd. against Starwood Hotels
& Resorts has concluded with the Judge's final verdict expected in
the coming months. In late 2004, the Supreme Court of Singapore found
Starwood guilty of breach of contract with Asia Hotel and ordered damages
to be assessed. The Supreme Court found that Starwood had "brazenly disregarded
its contractual obligation" to Asia Hotel. The damages sought by
Asia Hotel are in excess of US$35m.
In 2001, Asia Hotel entered into a 12-month non-circumvention agreement with Starwood for the latter to manage the former Grand Pacific Hotel in Bangkok as a Westin hotel . Asia Hotel was then attempting to buy the controlling interest in the Hotel from Lai Sun Development Co Ltd. Only three months after the ink was dry, Starwood breached the agreement with Asia Hotel and banded with the Narula family, the owners of Starwood's flagship Sheraton Grande in Bangkok, to manage the property on behalf of them. As a result, Asia Hotel filed a lawsuit against Starwood.
On September 20, 2004, Singapore's Court of Appeal affirmed a lower court's ruling that Starwood was in breach of the non-circumvention agreement with Asia Hotel, stating that Starwood "blatantly disregarded its obligation in spite of warnings issued by [Asia Hotel]", and that it was Starwood's "very own deliberate wrongful acts which shattered [Asia Hotel's] dream." The Court of Appeal ordered that the amount of damages that Starwood is liable to pay Asia Hotel, was to be assessed. This latest 6-week-long hearing for the assessment of damages with 15 witnesses concluded in the second week of February this year in Singapore, with the parties due to file written closing submissions.
"It's been more than 4 years in court with Starwood and we are very pleased that the Court has found Starwood to be in breach. From the outset, we felt we had been wronged by Starwood and we look forward to the damages award compensating us for the lost profits we would have made on this transaction. Starwood has made millions of dollars managing this property over the past 4 years and they will make even more over the next 11 years of this contract. We are hopeful that the Singapore Court will right a wrong", said Gary Murray, President of Asia Hotel.
About Asia Hotel Investments Ltd.
|Also See:||Asia Hotel Investments Ltd., Lawsuit Against Starwood Hotels & Resorts Enters the Final Damages Phase / January 2006|