SCENARI - OVERVIEW

Il futuro di Belmond

The future of Belmond

di Alessandra Gesuelli

A colloquio con Robert Koren, senior vice president, Europe, Middle East & Africa Division Belmond

An interview with Robert Koren, senior vice president, Europe, Middle East & Africa Division Belmond

 

 

Un colpo di scena nel mondo degli hotel di lusso. Un’opportunità immobiliare per acquisire in Italia e nel mondo proprietà storiche di grande valore. E’ quello avvenuto nei mesi scorsi con l’acquisto da parte di Lvmh del gruppo Belmond e, con esso, tra le altre, la divisione Hotels: 46 proprietà nel mondo e in Italia, inclusi nomi di peso come l’Hotel Cipriani a Venezia, l’Hotel Splendido a Portofino e il Grand Hotel Timeo a Taormina. Proprietà che per la loro storia e la posizione caratterizzano un unicum.  Ora si attende di capire come si espanderà il gruppo, che ha registrato un fatturato totale di 572 milioni di dollari e un utile rettificato di 140 milioni di dollari nell’anno fino al 30 settembre 2018, e come potrebbero integrarsi i diversi prodotti. Dei prossimi piani del gruppo abbiamo parlato con Robert Koren, senior vice president, Europe, Middle East & Africa Division Belmond.

SeeItaly: Quali sono gli sviluppi immobiliari e gli investimenti previsti ora per Belmond Hotels dopo l’acquisizione da parte di Lvmh?
“Per Belmond rappresenta sicuramente l’opportunità di raggiungere nuovi ed altissimi livelli di ospitalità. Nonostante questo, al momento è decisamente prematuro formulare qualsiasi ipotesi”.

SeeItaly: Con la proprietà di Casole continua l’espansione in Italia, in quali altre direzioni si amplierà il portfolio del gruppo?       
“Negli ultimi anni abbiamo investito molto per ristrutturare e acquisire. Il Belmond Castello di Casole rappresenta una importante proprietà immobiliare in Toscana. Al momento attuale volgiamo le nostre attenzioni verso il Sud della Penisola, ma anche le città d’arte ci interessano: Puglia e Sardegna, così come Milano e Roma. Non è sempre semplice trovare strutture adatte al nostro target in location giuste. Ad ogni modo la nostra ricerca è costante e cerchiamo strutture che raccontino una storia in un territorio che sia in grado di supportare le richieste del settore del lusso”.

SeeItaly: Nel mondo del lusso, quali a suo avviso sono i maggiori trend in questo momento, in termini di real estate e investimenti?                                    
“I viaggiatori di oggi sono sempre più informati e le aspettative più alte che mai. Sono sicuramente alla ricerca di strutture che offrano esperienze non solo fisiche, ma soprattutto emozionali, per portarsi a casa ricordi indelebili. Hotel con un ridotto numero di camere, strutture molto esclusive e lontano in genere dal caos sono le predilette. Per Belmond il servizio, la personalizzazione e le esperienze autentiche in luoghi esclusivi sono stati a lungo il fondamento di ciò che rende memorabile una esperienza di viaggio. Continueremo senza dubbio in tal senso”.

SeeItaly: Quanto un design riconoscibile e definito fa la differenza per un marchio luxury oggi?             
 “Ne rappresenta sicuramente uno dei tratti distintivi e Belmond incarna appieno questa affermazione. Tutte le nostre strutture sono facilmente riconducibili al territorio in cui sono locate. Le camere e le aree comuni di tutti i nostri hotel ospitano pezzi di arredamento e dettagli che non lasciano fraintendimenti e subito si ha la percezione della location in cui ci si trova. Così come al Belmond Hotel Cipriani di Venezia ritroviamo vetri e specchi di Murano, così Belmond La Residencia di Mallorca ospita al suo interno i distintivi prodotti di artigianato locale”.
            

A coup de théâtre in the luxury hotel world. A real estate opportunity to buy high value historical property in Italy and worldwide. This is what has happened over the past few months with the purchase by Lvmh of the Belmond group, including its Hotels division: 46 properties around the world and in Italy, including important names like Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Hotel Splendido in Portofino and the Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina. Properties that are unique for their history and position. Now, it’s time to wait and see how the group will expand, having registered a total turnover of 572 million dollars and a profits of 140 million up to 30 September 2018, and how the different products might be integrated. We spoke to Robert Koren, senior vice president, Europe, Middle East & Africa Division Belmond about the group’s future plans.

SeeItaly: What are the property developments and investments now planned for Belmond Hotels following the acquisition by Lvmh?
“For Belmond, it definitely represents the chance to achieve new and extremely high levels of hospitality. However, at the moment it is still too early to make any kind of guesses”.

SeeItaly: With the Casole property, the expansion in Italy continues. In what other directions will the group portfolio expand?
Over recent years we have invested a lot into renovating and purchasing. The Belmond Castello in Casole stands as a major real estate property in Tuscany. At the moment, we are turning our attentions to the south of Italy, as well as to the art cities: Puglia and Sardinia, Milan and Rome. It is not always easy to find facilities suited to our target in the right locations. Anyway, our search is ongoing and we are looking for structures that tell a story in an area that can meet the demands of the luxury sector”.

SeeItaly: In the luxury world, what, in your opinion, are the major trends at the moment, in terms of real estate and investments?                                 
“Today’s travellers are more and more informed and expectations are higher than ever before. They are definitely looking for facilities that offer not just physical experiences, but above all emotional ones too, to take home unforgettable memories. Hotels with few bedrooms, very exclusive facilities and generally off the beaten track are the most sought-after. For Belmond, service, personalisation and authentic experiences in exclusive locations have long been the cornerstone of what makes a holiday experience memorable. We will definitely continue along those lines”.

SeeItaly: To what extent does a recognisable, well-defined design make the difference for a luxury brand today?                               
“It is definitely one of its distinctive features and Belmond fully embodies this assertion. All of our facilities are easily linked to the area in which they are situated. The bedrooms and the communal area of all of our hotels contain pieces of furniture and details that are unmistakable and instantly give the perception of the place you are in. Just as Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice is home to Murano glass and mirrors, Belmond La Residencia in Mallorca has distinctive local handicrafts”.                                  
                 

                                                                                                                                                            LVMH Moe¨t Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH.PA), the world’s leading luxury group and Belmond Ltd. (NYSE: BEL), owners, part-owners or managers of 46 luxury hotel, restaurant, train and river cruise properties, today jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for LVMH to acquire Belmond. LVMH is to acquire Belmond for $25.00 per Class A share in cash. This represents an equity value of $2.6 billion in a transaction with an enterprise value of $3.2 billion. In the twelve months ended September 30, 2018, Belmond recorded total revenues of $572 million and adjusted EBITDA of $140 million. The transaction is expected to complete in the first half of 2019 subject to the approval of Belmond's shareholders and clearance by the relevant competition authorities.

Established over 40 years ago with the acquisition of Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Belmond owns and operates a global collection of exceptional hotel and luxury travel adventures in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations. The company operates in 24 countries with its unique and distinctive portfolio of 46 hotel, rail and river cruise experiences.

Belmond’s iconic properties include hotels like Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxfordshire, Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg, Maroma Resort & Spa in Mexico, Hotel das Cataratas in the Iguassu National Park in Brazil, and Cap Juluca in Anguilla. Legendary trains, such as the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and Belmond Royal Scotsman and exceptional cruises such as Belmond Afloat in France fleet and Belmond Road to Mandalay, complete a portfolio that offers extraordinary experiences with curated activities and an understated personal service to a globally-diverse, highly refined customer.

Through this acquisition, LVMH will significantly increase its presence in the ultimate luxury hotel world. Synonymous with history, heritage and timeless experiences, Belmond has a seasoned management team and is an ideal complement to the Cheval Blanc maisons, renowned for their exceptional service, architecture and unique gastronomy.

Roland Hernandez, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Belmond Ltd, commented: “Following a strategic review that attracted broad and deep interest from a wide range of real estate and lodging companies, sovereign wealth institutions and other financial buyers around the world, the Board has concluded that this transaction with LVMH provides compelling and certain value for our shareholders as well as an exciting path forward with a group that appreciates Belmond’s irreplaceable assets and strong management team.”

Roeland Vos, Belmond’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Today’s announcement is the result of the strong execution of our strategic vision that builds on our pioneering legacy and is an exciting development for all stakeholders, including our employees. We are confident that, as part of LVMH’s world-class family of brands, Belmond’s ability to deliver timeless, one-of-a-kind luxury experiences will reach new levels.”

Bernard Arnault, Chairman and Chief Executive Offer of LVMH, added: “Belmond delivers unique experiences to discerning travelers and owns a number of exceptional assets in the most desirable destinations. Its heritage, its innovative services, its excellence in execution and its entrepreneurship resonates well with the values of the Group and is complementary to our own Cheval Blanc maisons and the Bvlgari hotels activities. This acquisition will significantly increase LVMH’s presence in the ultimate hospitality world.”           

LVMH Moe¨t Hennessy Louis Vuitton is represented in Wines and Spirits by a portfolio of brands that includes Moe¨t & Chandon, Dom Pe´rignon, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Krug, Ruinart, Mercier, Cha^teau d’Yquem, Domaine du Clos des Lambrays, Cha^teau Cheval Blanc, Colgin Cellars, Hennessy, Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, Belvedere, Woodinville, Volca´n de Mi Tierra, Chandon, Cloudy Bay, Terrazas de los Andes, Cheval des Andes, Cape Mentelle, Newton, Bodega Numanthia and Ao Yun. Its Fashion and Leather Goods division includes Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior Couture, Celine, Loewe, Kenzo, Givenchy, Thomas Pink, Fendi, Emilio Pucci, Marc Jacobs, Berluti, Nicholas Kirkwood, Loro Piana, RIMOWA and Jean Patou. LVMH is present in the Perfumes and Cosmetics sector with Parfums Christian Dior, Guerlain, Parfums Givenchy, Kenzo Parfums, Perfumes Loewe, Benefit Cosmetics, Make Up For Ever, Acqua di Parma, Fresh, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna and Maison Francis Kurkdjian. LVMH's Watches and Jewelry division comprises Bvlgari, TAG Heuer, Chaumet, Dior Watches, Zenith, Fred and Hublot. LVMH is also active in selective retailing as well as in other activities through DFS, Sephora, Le Bon Marche´, La Samaritaine, Groupe Les Echos, Cova, Le Jardin d’Acclimatation, Royal Van Lent and Cheval Blanc hotels.

Belmond (Belmond.com) is a global collection of exceptional hotel and luxury travel adventures in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations. Established over 40 years ago with the acquisition of Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, its unique and distinctive portfolio now embraces 46 hotel, rail and river cruise experiences, excluding one scheduled for a 2019 opening in London, in many of the world’s most celebrated destinations. From city landmarks to intimate resorts, the collection includes Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, St. Petersburg; Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro; Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya; and Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara. Belmond also encompasses safaris, seven luxury tourist trains, including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, and two river cruises. Belmond also operates ‘21’ Club, one of New York’s most storied restaurants. Further information on the Company can be found at investor.Belmond.com.                                                                                               

 
 
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