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BlackRock sells DoubleTree hotel in KL for RM388 mil

KUALA LUMPUR (April 10): BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, has finally found a buyer for its 540-room DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur hotel in Singapore-based Royal Group Holdings — owned by tycoon Asok Kumar Hiranandani — more than a year after it was put on the market.

In a joint statement yesterday, Royal Group and BlackRock said they have signed a sale and purchase agreement for the former to acquire DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur for RM388 million. The acquisition is subject to state approval and subsequent completion.

With the latest acquisition, Royal Group will manage properties across Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, comprising residences, industrial properties, shopping malls, hotels and office towers.

“We’re delighted to acquire one of the most interconnected hotels in the heart of Kuala Lumpur,” said Royal Group chairman Asok Kumar in the statement.

“It marks a milestone in Royal Group’s heritage, as we seek to offer unique experiences within our hospitality portfolio. DoubleTree is a strong and successful name within the industry and a leader in delivering a warm, rewarding and hospitable experience.

“Adding this property to our portfolio of preferred brands not only broadens our hospitality and lifestyle footprint in Malaysia, but also enables us to accelerate the growth of hotels across Asia,” added Asok Kumar.

Royal Group managing director Peter Wilding said the group sees enhanced demand for full-service hotels in Kuala Lumpur.

“With this acquisition, Royal Group is now well positioned to take a stronger position in the industry as a strategic player, embarking on a growth and expansion highway that will elevate it within regional and global markets,” he added.

BlackRock head of real estate for Asia-Pacific John Saunders noted that the sale of DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur marks another success for BlackRock as a fund manager in repositioning assets in prime locations and transforming them into high-quality ones, to meet the needs of tenants, as well as investors seeking core assets.

“We are very pleased with the sale of this property following the extensive refurbishment to reinvigorate the original hotel in the upscale Golden Triangle district in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

The Edge weekly had on Dec 30, 2013, reported that the hotel in Jalan Tun Razak was up for sale and could be sold for an estimated RM350 million.

DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur is located within The Intermark commercial development, which houses the Intermark Mall, Vista Tower and Integra Tower.

BlackRock had acquired The Intermark in October 2013, after taking over Australia’s Macquarie Global Property Advisors Ltd (MGPA), which had purchased the property, then known as City Square Centre, for RM680 million from Asia Pacific Land Bhd.

MGPA had acquired the property under its US$1.3 billion MGPA Fund II and redeveloped the site as The Intermark, all four components of which are said to have a gross development value of RM2.2 billion.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 10, 2015.

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