DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar National Hotels will look to Europe and the United States for its next acquisition after the state-owned hotel group bought Raffles hotels in Paris and Singapore this year, its chairman said on Monday.
“Considering the recession in Europe and the very low asset prices … we see huge acquisition opportunities in Europe and the U.S.,” Sheikh Nawaf bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani told reporters.
In January, QNH took over two Raffles Hotels & Resorts’ including its flagship Singapore hotel in its first foray outside the Middle East. It also owns a hotel in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh as well as properties in Qatar.
Sheikh Nawaf also said the company, which is building hotels in Qatar ready for the 2022 World Cup, will need to tap debt markets in five to six years time to fund its expansion.
Qatar was the surprise winner of a December 2010 FIFA vote to choose the 2022 host country, edging out Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
The country plans to build solar-powered, air-conditioned stadiums to overcome the sweltering summer heat as well as housing, infrastructure and transport for the event.
QNH currently has nine hotels under construction, including in Italy, Switzerland, France and the Comoros, its chairman said.
“QNH.L is a cash rich company. Our expansion plan in the coming five years will consume our cash that we currently have,” he said. “We think that after five to six years, we’ll start to leverage.”