London-based businessman to buy Leela hotel in Goa

Wednesday 23rd September 2015 06:03 EDT

India-born, London-based businessman Raj Bagri is buying the Leela hotel in Goa for £72.50 million, marking the biggest single property deal in the Indian hospitality sector. The transaction, subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The hotel was built in 1991 and touches the beach.

This is the latest transaction by Bagri, promoter of the Metdist Group, which owns metal assets in Malaysia and other parts of the world, after the acquisition of denim brand Spykar last year. While the ownership of the 206-key hotel is changing hands from the Nairs-owned Hotel Leelaventure to Metdist, the former will continue to manage and operate the luxury hotel, which will retain the name The Leela. As per the arrangement, Ceres Hotels, a local unit created by the Metdist Group, will acquire the Leela, Goa, marking the diversified enterprise's foray into hotel ownership in Asia's third-largest economy.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Built in 1991 and touching the beach, The Leela, Goa, property is spread over 50 acres, and is one of the top-performing hotels in the country's iconic party destination. In fiscal 2015, the Goa property contributed £11.9 million (15%) to Hotel Leelaventure's total income of £76.2 million. “This investment signifies Metdist Group's confidence in building and growing businesses in India,” said Raghav Mittal, president and CEO of MetTube, the parent of Ceres Hotels. While Raj Bagri, who was the first non-British chairman of the London Metal Exchange and a former Conservative member of the House of Lords, is the chairman of the low-profile Metdist, his son Anup Bagri manages the group, which also has interests in real estate and insurance.

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