China's Jin Jiang raises AccorHotels stake to 5.5%

PARIS (REUTERS) - Shanghai Jin Jiang International has raised its stake in French hotel group AccorHotels to 5.50 per cent, becoming its second-largest shareholder, according to a regulatory filing.

The Rubyrock Capital Company Limited, an entity controlled by Jin Jiang, made the stock purchase on the market on Jan. 25, the AMF stockmarket watchdog said in the Jan. 29 filing.

AccorHotels, Europe's largest hotel group, could not be immediately reached for comment.

A growing number of French and Chinese groups have joined forces in recent years to seek opportunities in tourism, with Chinese investor Fosun buying a stake in French holiday group Club Med last year.

Jin Jiang International also bought Europe's No. 2 budget operator, France's Louvre Hotels Group, from U.S. investment group Starwood Capital in 2015.

By 1301 GMT (9 pm Singpaore time) on Monday, Accor shares were up 1.1 per cent, outperforming the CAC 40 index of French blue-chips, which was down 1.09 per cent.

"The hotel sector is currently in a strategic consolidation moment," Kepler analysts said in a note. "Even if Jin Jiang's final plan is not yet clear, there is a clear industrial logic to seeing hotel leaders consolidate to reinforce market share, segmentation and distribution forces."

Last week AccorHotels finalised its strategic alliance with China Lodging Group, which will create a major new player in the fast-growing Chinese domestic travel and hospitality market.