DLF to buy Aman Resorts

India''s largest real estate group DLF announced it is acquiring Aman Resorts hotel chain. The deal, which will be routed through DLF subsidiary Overseas Hotels, assumes an enterprise value of $400 million for the target company. The realtor will pay $200 million upfront and the entire $400 million later.

The agreement between DLF and Aman Resorts stipulates that the Aman properties will continue to use the Aman Resorts brand. Aman Resorts chairman Adrian Zecha says, "With the financial backing of DLF, Aman Resorts will now have the resources to significantly scale up its development plans. While we expand our global footprint we are committed to preserving and enhancing the distinctive character of the Aman experience."

Aman already has hotels and resorts in over a dozen countries, including France, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and the US. Its operations in India are currently restricted to two resorts, Amanbagh and Aman-i-khas, both in Rajasthan.
In the meanwhile, DLF is talking of building more than a hundred hotels with 25,000 rooms in more than 70 cities by 2010. That may sound a bit ambitious; but the group says it has already identified around 40 plots suitable for the hotel development in many cities, including Amritsar, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Mumbai and Pune.

Aman Resorts group properties include the Lodhi Hotel in New Delhi. The DLF group has a tie-up with luxury hotel chain Four Seasons to develop and run a super-deluxe hotel in Gurgaon, a suburb of Delhi. It also has a joint venture with the Hilton group for developing 75 hotels and serviced apartments in seven years. Serviced apartments are become popular with the growth in business travel within India because of their lower cost compared to hotels.

DLF''s plans include a five star super deluxe hotel and an ultra-premium residential condominium at Chanakyapuri in Delhi. In Mumbai the group is said to have zeroed in on Mahalaxmi in southern part of the city.