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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Management rights sale affects 2 top Siem Reap hotels

Management rights sale affects 2 top Siem Reap hotels

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Hotel de la Paix and Shinta Mani are no longer sister establishments, following the buyout of their management company by Indian firm

Photo by: KYLE SHERER

Nick Downing, general manager of Hotel de la Paix.

MAJOR management changes will take place at two of Siem Reap's leading hotels following the acquisition last week by Indian company Nadathur Holdings of a major stake in Bangkok-based BMC Management, which operates a chain of boutique hotels and resorts.

The two establishments affected by this acquisition are "sister hotels" Hotel de la Paix and Shinta Mani, and the general manager of la Paix, Nick Downing, will be replaced later this year as he takes a more senior position in the new organisation that has sprung from the acquisition.

Nadathur, a US$500-million investment firm of Infosys co-founder NS Raghavan, acquired BMC Management through a newly created firm, Ativa Hospitality, which will focus on hotel development and management.

Downing told the Post, "BMC Management has been bought out by Indian company Nadathur Holdings with a view for the people at BMC to create a new deluxe hotel brand that will initially target the Indochina region".

"Under Nadathur, BMC will be renamed Ativa Hospitality, with William Black as managing director, whom I have reported to since I started with BMC," he said.

"So BMC becomes Ativa, which will still manage la Paix as an independent property with no change," Downing added.

"Ativa will now develop a deluxe hotel brand, which is still to be named, and other projects are in the pipeline.

"I will become director of operations with Ativa, working on the new brand, and, in the meantime, I will still be overseeing la Paix. I'm not leaving Siem Reap just yet, but in time a new general manager will be appointed."

The acquisition has been misreported in the Indian media with statements that there are plans to expand in  Southeast Asian markets, "possibly under the Shinta Mani brand".

But following the acquisition, Shinta Mani no longer has any connection to the new company, Ativa, although Downing said, "We do consider it important that the hotels continue to work together strongly on our joint community activities led by Shinta Mani, even though the management companies have realigned".

The management company acquisition can on the surface be confusing, given that la Paix and Shinta Mani share common ownership, and until the acquisition also shared common management.

The owner of Shinta Mani, Sokoun Chanpreda, is also the minority owner of la Paix, but following the acquisition by Nadathur, he no longer has any management control over la Paix.

BMC Management over a year ago spun off from Bed, which runs the famous Bed Supperclub in Bangkok, among other things.

In that spinoff, Bed controlled clubs and restaurants and hotel management came under BMC, which managed la Paix and Shinta Mani.

Bed now remains a completely separate entity to BMC, which has become Ativa and will still manage la Paix.  

Shinta Mani has been spun back to Bed, the original management company, and is now not connected to Nadathur's new company, Ativa.

BMC controls or manages a chain of properties and has a few projects under development in the Greater Mekong region, which comprises Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Yunnan province of China.

Nadathur did not disclose the acquisition price, but Indian sources said that the transaction also involves ongoing investments into properties under development.

Ativa Hospitality director Sudhakar Mallya told The Economic Times in India that increased domestic and international travel capabilities are throwing up enormous opportunities in Asia's hospitality industry.

 "The partnership with BMC will enable us to create compelling and niche offerings in the market," he said.

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