M&C Hotels in top 40 on global list

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (M&C), which is majority-owned by property company City Developments, has been ranked the 40th-largest hotel group in the world.

It is the 13th straight year that it has been among the top 40 in the annual ranking by US Hotels Magazine, M&C said yesterday. The latest ranking makes it the largest Asian-controlled hotel group and second only to Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, outside China and Japan.

US Hotels' index is released every July and ranks hotel companies based on their portfolio at Dec 31 the previous year.

The London-listed M&C has 126 hotels in 84 destinations across Asia, Australasia, Europe, the Middle East and North America - more than 34,000 rooms in over 20 countries. "Asset ownership is key to our survival, (along with the) ability to pay dividends, as generally we do not want to manage other hotels not owned by us," M&C chairman Kwek Leng Beng said in a statement. "We will continue to focus on our strategy of ownership and management of hospitality real estate assets."

The company's policy is not to sell its hotels as these are the properties generating income, added Mr Kwek, who started out in 1971 with a single hotel in Singapore.

"We are not a mega hotel chain and our niche is to be both owners and operators."

The company launched a new brand earlier this year - M Social - with its first hotel in Singapore. The brand, which is aimed at the savvy and busy global traveller, will be launched in other markets, including Auckland in New Zealand, Silicon Valley in California, and Seoul in South Korea.

M&C has navigated this year's tough business conditions, thanks to its wide geographic exposure and strong balance sheet, it said.

Given the oversupply of hotel rooms in Singapore and the global hotel industry facing disruptors such as Airbnb, M&C will continue looking into ways to innovate, said Mr Kwek. "M&C has to be mindful of operating costs in the uncertain worldwide economy, further develop its digital platform and online presence, and access inbound customers from new growth markets."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2016, with the headline 'M&C Hotels in top 40 on global list'. Print Edition | Subscribe