Mumbai: Indian Hotels Company, that operates the Taj brand of hotels and resorts, has no immediate plan to take over the New York-based Orient-Express, though it will look at the option as it is a long-term investment, Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata said Friday.
"The Orient-Express is a good and strategic fit for us. However, nothing is on the table now for acquiring it. We may look at options later as it will be a long-term investment for us," Ratan Tata told 111th annual general meeting of the company here this evening.
The Tatas had bought seven percent stake in the NY hotel chain for Rs 1,339 crore in 2007, but its value has plunged by three-fourth now according to the latest market value of its stocks. Moreover, the company management has a rocky relationship with other stakeholders, including Tatas.
Talking about listing of its budget brand, he said, the group will go for an initial public offering (IPO) of Ginger Hotels, but did not elaborate.
He also said that the company has taken steps to turnaround its US business.
"We have our strategies in place and are hoping to make a complete turnaround of our US business," he said.
Indian Hotels Company is also in line with its expansion plans, he said.
"We have 30 hotels under construction, of which five are under the Ginger brand. We have a capex of Rs 495 crore for this expansion this fiscal. Overall, the group will add 20,000 rooms in next five years," Tata said.
Last fiscal, the global uncertainty put a lot of pressure on margins and infrastructure was a big hindrance for the hotel industry, he stated.
"We are looking at some reforms and expecting the tourism sector to grow this year," he added.
When asked about his take on Cyrus Mistry, who will replace him in December, he said, Mistry has fine qualities and talent to lead the USD 100 billion salt-to-software group.
When an investor asked whether Mistry should be trained to take over the mantle from him, Tata quipped: "It is very difficult to trust someone new. However, we should trust the board which selected Mistry to lead the Tata Group and also trust the man himself," he added.
First Published: Friday, August 3, 2012, 23:26