The Kathmandu-based CG Corp Global is setting up two investment platforms to acquire hotels and resorts. Funds, about Rs 5,000 crore, would be used to buy property in India, Southeast Asia as well as stressed assets in Europe. “This will be a big leap and transform the group into a global player,” said Binod K Chaudhury, chairman, CG Corp. The diversified business group currently has 94 hotels and 5,500 rooms. It aims to have 200 hotels and 10,000 rooms by 2020. Currently, it has a little over 50 properties and 2,600 rooms — the most anywhere —in India, under several brands, such as Fern, Alila, and Taj Safari. An investment platform with a corpus of over Rs 1,300 crore will be dedicated for the country. “This is being discussed. We will be much more diversified, in terms of properties and locations. We are open to working with international brands, in the business hotel segment.
We want to be diversified and opportunistic. Wherever our own brands fit, we will bring it in; wherever others’ brands seem suitable we will bring them,” said Chaudhury. The fund will be a part of its investment platform for the Southeast Asia region, for which it plans to raise Rs 3,250 crore, with India as the anchor country. It is in talks with international hotel majors such as Marriot and Hyatt to bring limited partners on board. The share of investment from CG Corp may range between 15 per cent and 30 per cent. It is also working with Singapore-based private lender Safeguard Capital Partners to set up another fund of Rs 1,600 crore, to purchase assets in the European market. According to Rahul Chaudhury, executive director, CG Corp, the group is eyeing assets in Spain and Italy. “Subdued economic sentiments in the region have offered an opportunity to grow inorganically,” he said. CG Corp began its journey in the hotels and resorts space about two decades ago; now, it has a presence in 15 countries including the Philippines, Dubai, China, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, apart from India. The latest move will be crucial for its future expansion and establishing the business in international markets, said Binod K Chaudhury. “The aim is to set up a global company that is an operator, investor, and brand agnostic and has its own brands. We are planning to take brand Fern international.” But there are a few roadblocks ahead. The hotels' segment in India, the group’s largest market, is stuck in a limbo, with buyers and sellers failing to come to an agreement, despite a large number of assets on the block. “Unfortunately deals are just not happening in India. No promoter is ready to take a haircut,” he said.