'The Pearl Hotel' opens in Kolkata

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Kolkata, Nov 19: Pearl Hospitality Private Ltd, under the Pearl Group of compnaies, has earmarked around Rs 150 crore for funding its expansion plan across the country in the hotels and hospitality sector over a period to five years in the first phase.

This was informed on Wednesday, Nov 19 by the company's Managing Director S H Rahman, after inaugurating ''The Pearl Hotel'' near the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass in the city, which entailed an investment of Rs 15 crore. The Mumbai-based Pearl Group, one of the country's major players in shipping and logistics, notched up a turnover of Rs 100 crore in the previous fiscal, out of which the firm's hospitality segment contributed 10 per cent, Mr Rahman informed.

''During the first phase, the company would limit its growth in setting up hotels in the range of three to four stars and it would look at acquiring at least four property in India,'' he added.

The firm would come up with a 120-roomed hotel at Patna in the middle of 2010, while work for a similar unit was going on at Navi Mumbai, Mr Rahman said adding the time period for the latter's completion had not yet been finalised.

''Though expansion plans are already in progress in Mumbai and Pune, the group is mainly focussing on the country's eastern region, including Patna, Siliguri, Ranchi and Sikkim. The company will add at least 300 rooms at the end of the first phase. We are now looking for budget hotels and afterwards graduate to five stars, in the firm's second phase of expansion,'' he added.

Although he admitted that the current global economic slowdown would cause retrenchment in the hotel and hospitality sector in India, Mr Rahman ruled out such phenomenon in the units under Pearl Hospitality as the company was in the expansion mode.

''We are planning to set up our chain of hotels across the country. We are aiming at emerging as a national player in the next three to five years,'' Mr Rahman averred.

Taking a cue from the MD, Pearl Hospitality Director Shariq Ashraf told newspersons that while 85 per cent of the funding during the first phase would be met with debts, the rest would be realised with internal accrual.

''Initially, we drafted our expansion plan at Rs 200 crore for the first phase. Then it was revised to Rs 150 crore taking into consideration that the property prices will fall in the coming years. After that, we will aim at setting up five star hotels in India. Moreover, countries like the US and UK will be in the country's radar for venturing into overseas,'' Mr Ashraf said, hinting that the firm's would foray into five star hotels would be made after six-seven years.

The Pearl Hotel, near the EM Bypass, is the company's second venture in Kolkata after ''Housez 43'' in the city, which is armed with 34 rooms, including two suites, junior suites and banquets.


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