European charm comes to the Middle East as Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund acquires a 49% stake in the exquisite Rocco Forte hotel chain

European charm comes to the Middle East as Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund acquires a 49% stake in the exquisite Rocco Forte hotel chain

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Saudi Arabia’s $800bn Public Investment Fund is investing tens of millions to acquire a significant 49% stake in Rocco Forte’s luxury hotel chain. Given the rapid emergence of luxury hotels in the stunning Red Sea region, the addition of Sir Rocco Forte’s luxury hotel group to the Kingdom wouldn’t be surprising. With this investment, Crown Prince MBS aims to double the chain’s size over the next five years, expanding into the Middle East, Italy, and the US.

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman manages the Saudi PIF which has assets exceeding $800 billion.

According to the Financial Times, the Italian sovereign wealth fund CDP Equity, which held a 23 percent stake, will exit the business, as will four of Forte’s five sisters. Forte and his sister, Olga Polizzi, will retain a controlling 51 percent stake. In an interview with the Financial Times, Forte stated, ‘We’re in a good position in the right industry at the right time,’ arguing that the luxury hotel sector is ‘quite protected [from an economic slowdown] compared to the rest of the economy.’

Sir Rocco Forte is the chairman of Rocco Forte hotels

The group owns eight hotels in Italy alone and plans to open a new one in Dubai in 2024. ‘Our investment in Rocco Forte Hotels reflects PIF’s confidence in both the commercial opportunity and the strength of the international hospitality and tourism industries, which have shown remarkable resilience in recent years,’ said Turqi Al Nowaiser, deputy governor and head of the international investments division at PIF, in a press statement.

The Saudi sovereign fund will invest multi-million pounds in the hotel group over the next five years. Forte is optimistic that this will significantly boost business, especially from visitors in the Middle East.

The Brown’s hotel in London’s plush Mayfair. Via Facebook / @Rocco Forte Hotels

The epitome of European charm and hospitality, Rocco Forte Hotels-
Rocco Forte Hotels, established in 1996 by Sir Rocco Forte and his sister Olga Polizzi, is a British hotel chain known for its luxury hotels, resorts, and private residences in prime locations worldwide. Their portfolio includes prestigious properties such as the Hotel Savoy in Florence, Verdura Resort in Sicily, Hotel de Russie in Rome, and The Balmoral in Edinburgh, among others. In addition to their historic properties and unparalleled luxury, their restorative spas, destination bars, and restaurants contribute to their memorable experiences. The group’s 14 hotels across Europe are valued at $1.5 billion.

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