A transaction advisor who participated in the Crowne Plaza deal said the deal is worth Sh4.6 billion and has received regulatory approval.
A Qatari-backed private equity fund has purchased the Crowne Plaza Hotel from tycoon Nazir Ahmed Akbarali for an estimated Sh4.6 billion, amid increased deal making in Kenya's hotel sector.
The hotel in Nairobi has been entirely acquired by Kasada Hospitality Fund, which is sponsored by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country's sovereign wealth fund.
Kasada's acquisitions in the continent have included hotels in Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon, and Namibia over the last 18 months.
The private equity company enters Kenya at a time when major hotels are either closing or changing hands as the sector recovers from Covid-19 travel restrictions.
According to a transaction advisor who participated in the Crowne Plaza deal and talked to the Business Daily on the condition of anonymity, the transaction is worth Sh4.6 billion and has regulatory approval.
“Crowne Plaza was sold but the owners have still not received the payment in full,” said the advisor. “Plans to sell the hotel have been on the table since 2020. The hotel was struggling with bank debts.”
ALSO READ: Machakos Billionaire Buys 680 Hotel In Nairobi
The hotel, which debuted in Nairobi's Upper Hill neighborhood in 2010, used the Crowne Plaza brands from the InterContinental Hotels Group.
Later that year, Mr Akbarali erected Crowne Plaza Annexe, a Sh1.1 billion mixed-use property that offers office space and accommodation.
The Crowne Plaza Annexe, a 15-story building next to the hotel, targets business travelers as well as companies looking for office space in Nairobi's Upper Hill financial district.
According to regulatory filings seen by the Business Daily, Crowne Plaza is held by Golden Jubilee Limited, of whom tycoon Akbarali owns 97.5 percent and Anish Akbarali owns 2.5 percent.
The owners planned to sell the hotel in early 2020, but the Covid-19 outbreak, which caused a travel slump, derailed their plans.
Kenya's tourist industry has begun to recover from the effects of Covid-19, as local visitors take advantage of lower pricing, while foreign visitor numbers remain much below pre-pandemic levels.
The sector, which is generally one of the country's main sources of foreign cash, is expected to generate Sh173 billion this year, up 18.5 percent from last. Earnings fell to Sh88.6 billion as governments throughout the world limited people's travel, notably by closing airways, to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Last year, they returned to Sh146 billion, with the number of hotel nights occupied by Kenyan travelers tripling within the same period.