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Felda acquires Grand Plaza Kensington Hotel for £60 mil

PETALING JAYA (Dec 15): Felda Investment Corp (FIC), which is a subsidiary of the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) has acquired the Grand Plaza Kensington Hotel in London for £60 million (RM330 million) to "diversify its investment assets".

The acquisition makes it the first London property for FIC and the second for Felda. 

It is part of FIC's strategic move to diversify its assets to ensure that it is able to maximise the company's investment returns, said Felda group chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad in a statement today.

He also noted that the newly acquired hotel serves to complement Felda's existing property, the Grand Plaza Serviced Apartments in Bayswater, another hot spot for Malaysians visiting London.

"While the Grand Plaza Serviced Apartments' main appeal is for visitors with (their) families or [those] travelling in a group, the Grand Plaza Kensington aims to attract guests who are looking for a luxurious yet affordable accommodation," he said.

Isa also added that the acquisition of Grand Plaza Kensington brings the number of hotels and resorts owned by Felda to 12.

CEO Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil said the acquisition of Grand Plaza Kensington was encouraged by the excellent reception received by the Grand Plaza Serviced Apartments, which enjoys an average occupancy rate of 90%. 

"Malaysia is now one of the most active investors in the UK property market particularly in London," he said.

"Renowned organisations like the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), retirement fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP), Tabung Haji and Permodlan Nasional Bhd (PNB) have already owned a number of properties and FIC is now following suit and making our presence felt in this particular market," he added.

He also said that he is confident that investments in the hospitality area specifically in the United Kingdom (UK) will yield sustainable long-term returns, especially looking at the upward trend of UK international visitors, which reached an all-time high in 2013 with 32.8 million visitors.

The Grand Plaza Kensington is a four-star hotel with 62 units of guest rooms and two units of three-bedroom serviced apartments, located at Lexham Gardens within the exclusive district of Kensington and Chelsea. It is also close to Western London's popular shopping street, the Kensington High Street.

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