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September 25, 2006

Acquisition signals Spain?s event potential

The rise of Barcelona as a key business events destination was underlined recently with the acquisition of Dolce Stiges, the first Spanish resort designed specifically for conferences, by Inchydoney Partnership, an Irish private equity fund specialising in the hotel sector.

The 61 million euro deal with Dolce International was the first struck by Inchydoney in Spain and outside Ireland, and is part of the company’s plan to expand into Europe by investing in high-quality hotels. Dolce International will continue to manage the hotel, resort and conference centre under a long-term management contract.

Commenting on the move, Inchydoney’s chairman, Seamus O’Mahony, said: “In this operation, the group sees important potential for growth and considers Barcelona and Spain in general, as a strategic market for medium and long-term investment. As we are highly satisfied with the quality of the hotel and with Dolce International’s professionalism and enthusiasm, we could well be signing new agreements in the future if the opportunity arises.”

Opening in October 2004, Dolce Sitges has welcomed 55,000 clients and turned over 12.7 million euros in its first year of business. The forecast for this year is equally positive: January to May 2006 saw more than 27,000 clients with a turnover of 7.9 million euros, representing a 68% growth compared to the same period the previous year.

Andy Dolce, founder, chairman and managing partner of Dolce International, regards the relationship with Inchydoney as very positive. “Dolce’s vast experience in managing conference centres and hotels, together with Inchydoney’s financial experience, could lead to important business ventures,” he said. “We are continuing with our strategy for growth in Europe and plan to add several properties to our portfolio before the end of the year, while our further plans for Spain are focused on Madrid.”

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