pounds 200m hotels float

CDL Hotels is expected to unveil plans for a pounds 200m-plus flotation of its UK operations this week. It will also unveil a new trading name, Millenium Hotels and Resorts.

The core of the newly floated company will be the Copthorne Hotels chain, which CDL bought from Aer Lingus, the Irish airline, last month for pounds 219m. CDL saw off a management bid and interest from rival hotel operator, Stakis.

Copthorne has 17 upper-middle market hotels, 12 of them in the UK. The flagship is the Copthorne Tara in Kensington. It also has hotels at Gatwick and Manchester airports.

CDL separately owns three other London hotels - Bailey's, the Gloucester and the Chelsea. It is possible these will be included in the flotation, which is planned for the spring.

CDL, chaired by multi-millionaire Kwek Leng Beng, is based in Singapore and quoted on the Hong Kong stock market. It has grown from six hotels in 1989 to 59 today in Asia, Europe and the US. It is the joint owner of the New York Plaza Hotel, purchased from Donald Trump in partnership with Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi prince who rescued Euro Disney. CDL is aiming for 100 hotels by the turn of the century.

The planned flotation is a fresh chapter for Copthorne, which was owned by British Caledonian before being bought by Aer Lingus.