Laguna Phuket sells Dusit Thani for Bt2.62b

PHUKET: Laguna Phuket has sold the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket resort to Dusit Thani Public Company Limited for 2.62 billion baht, according to a Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) transaction report.

The 226-room upscale property, opened in 1987, was the first built by visionary Singaporean hotel developer KP Ho at Laguna Phuket, an integrated resort complex built on degraded tin mining land along Bangtao Bay in Cherng Talay.

Adjacent to the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket resort are 28 pool villas branded and operated by the chain, but individually owned.

According to information on the Laguna Resort and Hotels (LRH) Plc website, the sale was prompted in part by the fact that the resort management company’s agreement with the Dusit chain was set to expire in approximately two years.

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The deal was brokered by international property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle, based out of Singapore.

According to the report, LRH plans to use the proceeds to invest in a resort project outside Thailand, to repay bank loans, and/or to pay dividends.

The overseas investment is aimed at diversifying LRH’s operations outside Phuket, which currently account for over 80% of the company’s revenue.

The global financial crisis which started in 2008 and the ensuing global recession severely impacted the tourism and hotel industry in Thailand as a whole, and LRH’s hotels and other tourism-related businesses in Laguna Phuket were not spared. The global financial meltdown was exacerbated by the prolonged Thai political turmoil which deterred tourists who could afford the luxury of travel during the recession from selecting Thailand as their holiday destination.

“These unfortunate events in the last two years revealed the company’s vulnerability and confirmed concerns that it has too much exposure in Phuket and Thailand. As a result, the company has decided to accelerate its plans to reduce its investment portfolio in Phuket,” LRH says in a statement.

The buyer, Dusit Thani Public Company Limited, is a Bangkok-based hotel chain with 19 properties worldwide. In addition to its flagship property in Bangkok, the company also operates resorts in Burma, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates.

— thephuketinsider.com

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