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Into Africa: Expanding in a growing market.
Sunday, 26th January 2014
Source : Bill Marriott

This morning, we announced that we signed definitive agreements to acquire Protea Hotels of Capetown, South Africa. We will buy their brands and management business.

When the deal is complete in April, we will be the largest hotel company in Africa. We currently have hotels in Egypt and Algeria with hotels under construction in Rwanda, Tunisia, Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, Ethiopia, Gabon and Benin. We have 23 hotels in our active pipeline in Africa.

Protea has 116 hotels across three brands -- Protea, Fire & Ice! and African Pride. They have over 10,000 rooms in South Africa, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Several of the Protea Hotels are the only hotels in secondary and tertiary markets in South Africa. We believe this acquisition will establish our company in an underdeveloped and growing market.

The International Monetary Fund says 10 of the 20 fastest growing world economies are African, and Reuters says 5 to 6 percent growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected between 2013 and 2014.

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Since 2006, travel to Africa has increased 34 percent, according to the World Travel and Tourism Commission.

Arthur Gillis founded Protea 30 years ago. Their company culture puts people first associates and guests. I think this was a major factor in bringing our two companies together. Arthur and his excellent team will remain in place and spearhead our growth in Africa. We are truly excited with this acquisition and feel it will contribute greatly in rounding out our global growth platform.

Hats off to our great negotiating team lead by Alex Kyriakidas president of our Middle East and Africa regions and Rick Hoffman, executive vice president of mergers, acquisitions and business development.

I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

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