Lenders put Sahara’s Grosvenor House property on the block; may fetch $830M

In fresh troubles for crisis-hit Sahara Group, its iconic hotel property Grosvenor House, estimated to be worth over Rs 5,000 crore, has been put on sale by the lenders to recover their loans.

Grosvenor House, a landmark property on Park Lane here that was designed by acclaimed architect Sir Edwin Luytens of New Delhi, is one of the three marquee hotels owned by Sahara outside India -- the other two being Plaza and Dream Downtown in New York.

Sahara has been trying for months to raise funds to secure release of its chief Subrata Roy, as also that of two other senior officials, from Tihar Jail in Delhi, where they have been lodged for one year. These three hotels have been at the centre of these fund-raising plans.

Sahara was in talks with US-based Mirach Capital for a syndicate loan arrangement linked to the three properties to replace an existing loan from Bank of China, but the deal fell apart and the two parties warned each other of legal action.

While there were no immediate comments from Sahara on the development regarding Grosvenor House, which is being managed by JW Marriott and has 494 bedrooms including 74 suites, realty consultant Jones Lang LaSalle said in a statement that it has been appointed the sole agent to sell this property.

Deloitte was appointed administrators to Sahara last night after "it defaulted on debts tied to the hotel", according to a report in Daily Telegraph, which said that the Grosvenor House may fetch about 500 million British pounds (approximately Rs 5,000 crore).

This is more than 470 million British pounds that Sahara Grosvenor House Hospitality Ltd had paid in 2010 for London's largest luxury hotel.

Sahara Group had acquired the three iconic hotels in London and New York between 2010-2012 at an estimated valuation of USD 1.55 billion. Market experts, however, peg their current valuation at upwards of USD 2.2 billion, after taking into account the appreciation in their values.

The group has been engaged in a legal battle with Indian markets regulator Sebi for a long time over repayment of investor dues totalling over Rs 20,000 crore. Sahara, however, claims it has already repaid 95 per cent of the investors directly. 

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