Banyan Tree to launch China development fund by end of 2008

Luxury resorts and spa operator, Banyan Tree, has announced aggressive plans to expand its global operations. The company believes that China-led growth will be a defining feature of global travel over the next few decades.

So, it’s expanding its operations in the Chinese mainland to 12 locations from the current four.

To support the expansion, Banyan Tree said it’s planning to launch a new US$400 million China development fund.

Ho Kwon Ping, Executive Chairman, Banyan Tree, said: “We recognise that there is a clear window of opportunity for us as a player in this space that we’ve identified. Suddenly this space has opened up, it’s become a global space. There are no global players there. Only regional players like us.”

The China development fund which is expected to be introduced later this year is similar to its existing IndoChina Hospitality Fund. The company expects the new fund to mature within seven years. Banyan Tree plans to use such funds to further expand into other growth areas around the region.

Mr Ho continued: “In each of the funds that we set up, Banyan Tree will be the cornerstone investor with about 15 per cent. It will be the general partner (and) the hotels will be branded Banyan Tree or Angsana.”

The mainboard-listed company also plans to open up 47 new hotels over the next five years and expects to grow by up to 60 per cent annually. This follows a 142 per cent jump in net profits in 2007. Banyan Tree expects total headcount globally to triple to 24,000 over the next four years. – CNA/vm

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 28 Apr 2008

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