Goldman Sachs checks into Samhi Hotels, infuses Rs 440 cr for a significant minority stake

Goldman Sachs has invested Rs 440 crore ($66 million) for a significant minority stake in Indian hotel investment and development firm Samhi Hotels, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.

Samhi, which operates 10 hotels and is developing 16 more, will use the money to grow its portfolio to about 30 to 35 properties, the company's Chief Executive Officer Ashish Jakhanwala told Reuters.

The entrance to the Goldman Sachs building at 200 West Street, New York. Reuters

Goldman Sachs building at 200 West Street, New York. Reuters

Its portfolio is leased to operators such as Marriott International, Starwood Hotels, Accor SA and Hyatt International.

A gradual recovery in Asia's third-largest economy is boosting demand for hotel rooms.

Hotel occupancy in India in the year to March 31, 2015 rose to 60.3 percent, the highest in four years. Revenue per available room, a measure of profitability, grew for the first time since 2010-2011, showed a report by consultant HVS.

"There will be continued opportunities for acquisitions, given several hotels need fresh capital to relieve them of financial stress of past few years," said Jakhanwala.

Samhi has raised $240 million in equity since 2011 and has focussed on acquiring economy and mid-scale hotels and refurbishing or rebranding them.

Samhi declined to specify the exact stake that the Goldman Sachs investment had bought. Samhi's biggest investor remains Equity International, founded by billionaire real estate mogul Sam Zell, which has invested $90 million in Samhi.

Goldman Sachs has invested more than $2.5 billion in the country since 2006, mainly in the infrastructure and energy sectors.

Reuters