EIH Ltd, the country’s most highly valued hospitality firm and the owners of Oberoi Group of hotels, is much sought after. After unconfirmed reports of Mukesh Ambani being interested in the firm and other investors parking their treasury funds into the company, Analjit Singh (promoter of Max Group) has hiked stake in EIH by buying another 1% through open market purchases.
Pivet Finance, an investment arm of the Delhi-based industrialist, has picked up nearly 1% stake in EIH at an aggregate price of Rs 45 crore ($9 million). With this investment, Pivet’s holding in EIH is close to 2%, according to a report.
The report adds that a foreign hospitality chain is also in talks to pick up a stake in the company. The EIH scrip has shot up 40% over the last one month to close at Rs 113 on Monday.
ITC (which also competes with EIH through Welcome Group of Hotels) has 14.95% in EIH through its investment arm Russel Credit. ITC is, marginally short of the 15% mark, crossing which would mandate an open offer.
Other investors who have been interested in acquiring more shares in EIH include Gaurav Burman(of Dabur Group) led Elephant Capital (formerly Promethean India) who already has a small minority stake in the company.
EIH promoters (who hold 46.11% of the company) have been looking to sell a part of their stake. The owners are also looking to raise funds for further expansion to open 10 hotels besides adding 2,300 rooms to the existing capacity in India.
Earlier in March’08, EIH had terminated a 15-year-old branding agreement with Hilton International and renamed Trident Hilton as Trident Hotels. The group has two brands — the Oberoi, and Trident. As part of its expansion, the group is looking more at management contracts in international as well as domestic markets.