The Dubai-based giant company, Albwardy Investment (ABI), has once again showed its interest to purchase Hilton Addis, one of the oldest international brand hotels in Ethiopia, wholly owned by the government of Ethiopia.
The Dubai-based investment holding company first showed its interest to acquire Hilton last year in a letter addressed to Sufian Ahmed, Minister and Fiscal Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister. “ABI is highly interested in purchasing the mentioned hotel from the Ethiopian government subject to due diligence and upon settlement of a mutually acceptable amount to be determined through negotiations,” the letter read.
Pursuant to the expression of interest and positive reception from the government, the Dubai giant has hired an Indian consultant firm to conduct the feasibility and other relevant studies over the past ten months. According to sources, recently, ABI has submitted the result of the feasibility study to Ministry of Public Enterprise.
ABI has already acquired other two hotel properties in Ethiopia whose construction is yet to be completed in the coming year. The two properties, which are located around the Meskel Square at a combined 10,232 square Meters plot of land, are purchased from Karafi Hotels Ethiopia PLC at a price of 25 million birr.
According to the letter, the company wants to make Hilton Addis Ababa part of the Albwardy investment family in Ethiopia and asked to be strongly considered by the government.
However, Wondafrash Aseffa, Corporate Communication Director at the Ministry of Public Enterprises, denied any knowledge of the submission the proposal to its ministry to acquire Hilton.
Wondafrash also told The Reporter that he has no idea as to the Dubai company has officially submitted the proposal so far. But, he said that the government will put up companies, which are identified for privatization for sale in due time. And in that time, companies would be invited to bid for these companies. Then anyone who has the interest will have chance to come forward at that time.
He also confirmed that Hilton is under the government’s 100 percent ownership and it is in need of renovation work to help it to retain its five-star status, which was downgraded to a three-star status last year.
Hilton Addis stands 12 stories high and was opened in 1969 by Emperor Haile Selassie. Together with the Garden Wing Extension completed in 1987, the complex offers a total of 402 rooms. The architectural design is based on the Lalibela Cross which comes from one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ethiopia that is considered the 8th wonder of the world.
ABI established in 1975 to act as holding company and oversee a collection of growing number of businesses within the space of food, trade, industry, hotel and tourism and other sectors which are 100 percent owned by company. It has 30 autonomous companies under it with annual turnover of over one billion dollars.