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ITC hotels division goes global, buys land in Lanka
The Times of India - 16 May 2012

The tobacco-to-FMCG-to-hospitality giant, ITC, is finally foraying into foreign soil with its hospitality business. The multi-business private sector conglomerate has incorporated a wholly owned subsidiary — WelcomHotels Lanka Pvt Ltd (WLPL) — in Sri Lanka. WLPL has acquired land at Galle Face in Colombo on a 99-year lease from the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, said an ITC spokesperson.

“The company has an intention to set up a mixed-use project, including a luxury hotel. The exact nature of the project will be decided on more detailed evaluation in the course of time,” said the spokesperson for ITC, which has a market capitalization of over $35 billion and a turnover of around $7 billion with business interests spanning consumer goods, hotels, paper & packaging, agri-business and IT.

Incidentally, now ITC hotels division has 100 properties in 90 locations across the country. Sources close to the company indicated that though Sri Lanka marked the foreign foray of ITC in hospitality, it does not have any immediate plan to establish hospitality venture in any other foreign soil. The hotels division of ITC witnessed 18% revenue growth in the last fiscal. Now, it has a topline of over Rs 1,200 crore.

ITC hotels division operates four brands — ITC Hotel at the luxury end, Welcome Hotel in the five-star range, Fortune in the mid-market segment and Welcome Heritage in the heritage leisure segment. It now has an exclusive tie-up with luxury hotel chain Starwood in bringing its premium brand, the ‘Luxury Collection’, to India.

These are super deluxe and premium hotels located at strategic business and leisure locations. The ten hotels which are part of this collection include ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, ITC Maurya in Delhi, ITC Maratha in Mumbai, ITC Sonar in Kolkata, ITC Grand Central in Mumbai, ITC Windsor & ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru and ITC Kakatiya in Hyderabad.

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