13 December 2006

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Business Today

Irishman eyes Floriana’s ‘Pheonicia’

Karl Stagno-Navarra

Negotiations into the sale of the Le Meridien Phoenicia Hotel in Floriana are expected to be concluded by this week, following a short-listing of companies who submitted what have been defined as “generous and competitive” offers.
Sources close to Christie+Co in London – who are brokers to the property sale – have revealed that negotiations are currently ongoing with an unidentified Irish businessman who has offered EUR20 million for the building and the Le Meridien branding management contract.
The prospective buyer, who is reported to be an elderly Irish investor, was in Malta a few weeks ago personally surveying the property.
The Irishman’s offer is reported to have been far superior to the second bid by a Maltese consortium who offered EUR14 million, however was still short listed together with a third Maltese offer that amounted to EUR11 million.
Christie+Co, who are handling the property sale from London, are expressing satisfaction at the response to the offer.
While sources have explained that negotiations are expected to be concluded this week, the operators in Malta are reported to be continuing with business as usual, with the hotel accepting bookings as far as 2008. Should the deal be concluded, the Le Meridien Phoenicia will be sold as a property and a going concern as an existing company with all its operations.
Management officials at the hotel declined to comment about the latest developments, however they explained that the employees have yet to be informed about the latest developments, following their initial briefing last October.

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