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Capital's Taj Manshingh Hotel in New Delhi, India May Come Up
for Auction in 2012, if so Starwood Hotels Intends to Bid

By Sachin Dave and Tejeesh NS Behl, Hindustan Times, New DelhiMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jan. 13, 2012--A host of hospitality majors are likely to vie for the Capital's landmark Taj Mahal hotel on Mansingh Road, better known as Taj Mansingh, if the hotel comes up for auction. The first company to publicly announce its intention to bid for the property is the New York stock exchange-listed Starwood Hotels.

"We would be very interested in bringing that (Taj Mansingh) hotel into our system," Vasant Prabhu, vice chairman and CFO, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, told HT. "We would probably want to work with a partner to do that."

The land lease agreement signed in 1978 between Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) -- which runs the property -- and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) was extended by a year in October last year. NDMC has said that when the lease expires, the lease would not be extended, and the property would be put up for auction.

IHCL would have to win the auction to continue to run the hotel.

"We have not discussed this (auction) with any of our partners as no auction has started and if there is one and if it's an open auction we would definitely talk to our partners," said Prabhu, when asked if Starwood would be bidding with any of its current partners for the 3.8-acre property.

Starwood has 33 premium hotels in India through partnerships or franchisees. It has a partnership with ITC Hotels for its Luxury Collection brand.


(c)2012 the Hindustan Times (New Delhi)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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