PETALING JAYA: Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) has bought a four star hotel in London for an undisclosed figure.
Felda said the investment is the first by its subsidiary, Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) and the second for the plantation group which previously acquired Grand Plaza Serviced Apartments in Bayswater and now, the Grand Plaza Kensington.
"The acquisition of Grand Plaza Kensington is part of FIC's strategic move to diversify its assets and to ensure that it is able to maximise the company's investment returns for the ultimate benefit of the stakeholders," Felda Group chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad said in a statement yesterday.
Isa said the acquisition of Grand Plaza Kensington by FIC has brought the total number of hotels and resorts owned by Felda to 12.
The Grand Plaza Kensington is a four star hotel with 62 units of guest rooms and two units of three-bedroom serviced apartments, located at Lexham Gardens within the exclusive district of Kensington and Chelsea.
The hotel is within close proximity to one of Western London's most popular shopping streets, the Kensington High Street.
"The strategic location of the hotel and the popularity of London as one of the top holiday destinations in the world, especially among Malaysians, are guaranteed to be among the selling factors for the hotel," the statement said.
FIC CEO Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil said the acquisition of Grand Plaza Kensington was based on the excellent reception received by Grand Plaza Serviced Apartments which has an average occupancy rate of 90%.
"Malaysia is now one of the most active investors in the UK property market particularly in London. Renowned organisations like the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF), Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP), Lembaga Tabung Haji and Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) have already owned a number of properties and FIC is now following suit and making our presence felt in this particular market," he said.
Mohd Zaid is confident that investments in the hospitality area specifically in the UK will yield sustainable long-term returns, especially looking at the upward trend of UK international visitors, which reached an all-time high of 32.8 million visitors in 2013.
This, he said, was largely driven by the 8.6% growth for London, making it the most visited city in the world.
Despite being a relatively new company, FIC has been actively involved in several strategic dealings including the recent take-over of a property development entity, Encorp Bhd.
The acquisition of Encorp Bhd by FIC signifies Felda's ambitious aim to diversify its business further into property development and construction, besides being a prominent force in the hospitality sector.