'The Lalit', new brand name of The Grand hotels

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{image-InterContinental Grand1_19112008.jpg www.oneindia.com}New Delhi, Nov 19: All properties under the Bharat Hotels banner called 'The Grand', including the InterContinental Grand, Delhi, will now be known as 'The Lalit' after its late founder chairman Lalit Suri.

This was announced by Mrs Jyotsna Suri, CMD of Bharat Hotels, called The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, at a press conference here on Wednesday, Nov 19. ''The Group would invest about Rs 1,200 crore in the next 3-4 years, of which 50 per cent would be through internal accruals and the remaining through borrowings,'' the wife of late Lalit Suri said and ruled out going for an initial public offer in the next two years.

''There will be no dilulion of equity, and we will continue development as scheduled, irrespective of the global financial meltdown,'' she added. Asked why her company was not effected by the global meltdown, she said: ''We are a stable company, we never over leverage and so don't have huge borrowings.'' Hence. she also ruled out firing any of her staff.

The Lalit brand has as its logo a red square and a stylised 'L' which resembles the Ganesha form.

''Our franchise agreement with the InterContinental Hotels Group has ended and hence all Grand hotels will be called The Lalit hotels,'' she said.

She, however, added that Mumbai and Goa will retain the name InterContinental for the next 18 months when the franchise agreement would end.

As a policy, the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has done away with the franchise agreement and now only have management contracts.

''We were also not gaining much in terms of international visibility by having a tie-up with the IHG,'' she explained.

The Bharat Hotels has 17 luxurious hotels-- with seven operating hotels and ten under development.

Asked why she was not going for an IPO, she said:''We are busy opening hotels at several places, including Bekal (Kerala), Kolkata, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Noida, Amritsar, Dehradoon and Dubai. And we also don't need funds.'' The company is also opening a resort in Koh Samui, Thailand with 42 small vilas on a 10 acre area near the beach.

''While we carry forward the legacy of Mr Lalit Suri, our new identity also reflects an evolving, progressive and dynamic group, with a promise of offering limitless hospitality,'' she said.

Mrs Suri said her company, which had a turnover of Rs 500 crore in 2007-08, might only register a 5 per cent growth in 2008-09 because of the global recession. About budget hotels. she said the mid-market category was here to stay. ''The budget hotels are the need of the hour,'' she added.

She disclosed that her company would develop six budget hotels, having 20-50 rooms each.

''But the solid plan would be announced in six months,'' she said.

UNI

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