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Saturday, April 14, 2007

RECORD 280 BILLION YEN DEAL

ANA to sell 13 domestic hotels to Morgan Stanley


Staff writer

All Nippon Airways Co. announced Friday it will sell its 13 domestic hotels to U.S. brokerage giant Morgan Stanley for about 280 billion yen -- a move that will allow the carrier to focus on its core airline business.

The deal, the largest purchase of Japanese real estate ever made by an overseas investor, is expected to bring ANA a profit of 130 billion yen. The properties have a value of about 150 billion yen.

ANA, which was soliciting buyers via auction, received bids from several companies and investment funds. The deal will leave it with 18 other hotels that it operates but doesn't directly own.

Satoru Aoyama, credit analyst at Fitch Ratings, said ANA made a good decision to sell its hotels at a time when land prices are rising.

"In its midterm business strategy two years ago, ANA's hotels were valued at around 100 billion yen, but now ANA was able to sell them for 280 billion yen -- three times that amount," Aoyama said. "It was a great timing."

The deal will allow ANA to restructure its hotel operations, focus on its airline business and use the cash to invest in new aircraft purchases, which is all good news for ANA, Aoyama said.

As the economy recovers, more investment funds and foreign brokerages are investing in real estate in Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan. Friday's purchase will bolster Morgan Stanley's hotel holdings worldwide. It already owns more than 80 hotels, including the Westin in Tokyo's Ebisu district.

"This transaction highlights Morgan Stanley's continued long-term commitment to investing in Japan and optimistic outlook for the nation's economy and hotel industry," Morgan Stanley said in a press release.

ANA's board of directors approved the deal earlier Friday. The shares of the 13 hotels, including the flagship ANA InterContinental Tokyo in Minato Ward, will be sold to Morgan Stanley on June 1, the company said in a statement.

The other hotels are in Hokkaido, Toyama, Osaka, Hiroshima, Okinawa and other prefectures.



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