Realty major DLF Ltd has sold its stake in luxury resorts chain, Amanresorts, to the latter’s founder, Adrian Zecha, for about Rs 1,650 crore ($300 million).

“The value of the management buyout is at an enterprise value of approximately $300 million and does not include the Aman New Delhi property (Lodhi Hotel), which shall be retained by DLF,” the company said in a filing to the BSE.

DEAL Closure by Feb-end

Zecha has bought out DLF Global Hospitality’s entire stake in Silverlink Resorts Ltd, the holding company for Amanresorts. DLF Hospitality is a 100 per cent step-down subsidiary of DLF.

The transaction, subject to conditions, is slated for final closure by February-end.

The move will help DLF pare its debt and focus on its non-core businesses. DLF’s debts stand at Rs 21,000 crore. The company had earlier said it would like to bring this to Rs 17,000 crore.

The realty major had bought the hospitality chain from Zecha in 2007 for about $400 million. Amanresorts has about 25 small luxury resorts worldwide. The flagship resort was opened at Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand.

Zecha founded the hotel in 1988 and is rated highly in the luxury space with rooms starting from $550 a night. Minimalist and eco-friendly, the concept was said to be a hit, with loyal customers referring to themselves as ‘Aman Junkies’.

Exiting non-core biz

Till September-end this fiscal, DLF had raised Rs 5,773 crore from the sale of non-core assets, such as hotel plots and IT Parks/SEZs.

The total proceeds after these two major deals would cross Rs 9,000 crore. From the sale of wind energy, the company expects about Rs 1,000 crore.

DLF had put its luxury hospitality chain, Amanresorts, its wind energy business and a huge land holding in Mumbai on the block, as part of its plans to exit from non-core ventures and focus on the property business.

Less than expected

The analysts Business Line spoke to said the company was expecting around Rs 2,000 crore but had to settle for Rs 1,650 crore owing to sluggish demand in the real estate and hospitality sectors.

DLF, in its 2011-12 annual report, said it expected the current economic and business environment to stay challenging over the next few quarters.

DLF shares were marginally up on the BSE at Rs 225.55.

(This article was published on December 19, 2012)
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