Berggruen signs MoU with Morocco-based Filacom

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Mumbai, Sep 8 (UNI) Berggruen Hotels, Berggruen Holding's Indian Hospitality venture, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Filacom Private Limited in Morocco, North Africa, to set up three and four star hotels in the country.

This is Berggruen's first international Joint Venture, arising from its business plans to develop midmarket and upscale hotels across emerging markets around the globe. Filacom is a part of the Laraki group of companies and is headed by Mehdi Laraki, a member of the Young Presidents' Organisation.

Berggruen Hotels Managing Director Sanjay Sethi told UNI here today, ''We are delighted to partner with the Laraki Group who I believe will add momentum to our expansion plans in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Morocco is a strong market and its strategic proximity to Europe gives the business long term sustenance power.'' ''Our Joint Venture with Filacom will ensure quicker growth and a more in-depth understanding of the local issues in Morocco. Also, since the investment will be opportunity based and both partners enjoy proprietary equity, we are not going to be driven by market dynamics,'' said Mr Atul Lall, Chief Operating Officer (International Division) of Berggruen Hotels, who are in the process of setting up their brand of boutique budget hotels called 'Keys' in India.

With the tourist arrivals expected to touch 10 million by 2010, the Joint Venture is looking at building and operating hotels in the 3-4 star segment, Mr Lall said. These will be primarily Greenfield projects but the company is also open to acquiring existing hotels and entering into management contracts, he added.

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