Tropicana, Marriott tie up on Courtyard Hotel

Tropicana Corporation Bhd has tied up with Marriott International Inc to develop the first Courtyard Hotel in Malaysia with a gross development value (GDV) of RM150 million.

The 15-storey hotel will be part of Tropicana 218 MacAlister, Tropicana's latest development on Penang island.

Group chief executive officer Datuk Yau Kok Seng hinted that there can be more collaborations between the two companies going forward, given that Tropicana has an undeveloped landbank of 890.3ha, with an estimated GDV of RM80 billion.

"We are in a good position as we can unlock our GDV over the next 15 years," he said after the official signing ceremony between Tropicana and Marriott, here, yesterday.

Tropicana is also planning to develop a mixed development project known as Penang WorldCity in Bayan Mutiara, Penang, while in Johor, it has expanded its presence to the Iskandar Malaysia region with Tropicana Danga Bay, Tropicana Danga River and Tropicana City Centre.

Neo Suites, the first phase of Tropicana 218 MacAlister has recorded more than an 85 per cent take-up rate since its launch.

The luxurious integrated development at Tropicana 218 MacAlister will comprise the Courtyard by Marriott, 211 units of commercial suites, 88 units of services residences and retail outlets.

The 200-room hotel is expected to open its doors in Penang island come 2018.

Peter Gassner, the director for hotel development (Asia Pacific) at Marriott International Inc, described Courtyard Penang as an exciting development as it grows its footprint in Asia Pacific.

"We continue to see great opportunity for expansion throughout this region, particularly with Courtyard which is specifically designed to address the needs of business and leisure travellers."

On the proposed disposal of Tropicana City Mall and Tropicana City Office Tower, Yau said it was unfortunate that it could not close the gap with CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust.

"Our de-gearing programme is on track and we'll continue to see how best to quickly unlock the value and continue to divest non-core assets."

News that CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust had aborted its proposed acquisition of the two assets late October drew comments from analysts that the company's high-gearing ratio will remain longer than expected.

Tropicana's gearing ratio, currently at 0.7 times, is expected to reduce to 0.5 times within a year, Yau said.

He also said he was happy with the more than RM2 billion sales achieved and unbilled sales of RM2.2 billion. - By Rupa Damodaran (Business Times)

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