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Leela sells Goa hotel to Malaysian firm

Leading hospitality group Hotel Leelaventure Ltd on Saturday sold its hotel property in Goa’s Mobor for Rs.725 crore to Ceres Hotels Ltd, the Indian arm of MetTube Sdn Bhd of Malaysia.

“The board of directors on Saturday approved sale of The Leela Goa on a slump sale basis for Rs.725 crore to Ceres Hotels Ltd,” the company said in a regulatory filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Spread over 50 acres with beach access, the 226-keys Leela Goa resort has the advantage of being on the banks of river Sal at the far side of the property.

The Mumbai-based hotel chain will, however, manage and operate the hotel.

“The disinvestment of the Goa hotel and retaining its management under our brand is in line with our strategy to restructure our debt, follow an asset light strategy and mange more hotels,” chairman and managing director Vivek Nair said in a statement.

The Goa hotel contributed 15 percent (Rs.119 crore) to the group’s total income of Rs.762 crore last fiscal.

The transaction will be completed by December 31 after regulatory approvals.

The Leela group has been scouting for buyers to sell off its properties in the country to pay off its debts to the tune of Rs.5,000 crore.

JM Financial Securities Ltd was the financial advisor for the deal.

The Malaysian parent firm is a part of the Lord Bagri-promoted Metdist group, a diversified portfolio of companies with presence in sectors like metal trading, fabrication industries, apparel, real estate and insurance.

The 19-year-old group, which owns and manages eight hotels across the country with 2,211 keys, plans to expand its presence through management contracts in India and the Gulf region.