Sri Lanka Continental Hotel in US60mn expansion

July 11, 2010 (LBO) – Continental Hotel, the oldest 5-star rated property in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo will spend 60 million US dollars to expand and refurbish to cater to an expected influx of tourists after the end of a long running war, an official said. Sri Lanka’s listed Hayleys group bought a 51 percent stake in Continental hotel in March 2010 for 1.8 billion US dollars (15.5 million US dollars) or 21 rupees per share valuing the entire hotel at over 30 million US dollars at that time.

But the stock traded last week a 28 rupees a share.

A key shareholder of Hayleys is Dhammika Perera, whose Vallibel group now controls Amaya Leisure, which has started a 100 million US dollar expansion program.

“Continental is also on the verge of spending 10 million US dollars in refurbishing the property,” Amaya Leisure managing director Lalin Samarawickrama told a business forum in Colombo organized by Acuity, an investment bank.

“They have another 50 million dollar development in the back of the hotel to develop further bedrooms.”

Five star rated hotels in Sri Lanka’s capital are now enjoying close to 80 percent occupancy and are yielding about 90 US dollar a room, officials of John Keells Holdings, which own two newer hotels in Colombo said