Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC has agreed to buy a stake in Greece’s Sani/Ikos Group (SIG) in a deal valuing the luxury Mediterranean resort operator at 2.3 billion euros ($2.3 billion), making it the largest European hotel deal since then. . The Covid-19 pandemic has upended the travel and tourism industry.
The deal — which is expected to complete in the fourth quarter subject to the usual regulatory approvals — will make GIC a major shareholder in SIG, replacing Oaktree, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Moonstone, Florac and Hermes GPE. The founders of SIG – Stavros Andreadis, Andreas Andreadis and Mathieu Guillemin – who transformed the company from the family-owned resort of Sani in Greece into one of the fastest growing resort operators in the Mediterranean will remain major shareholders.
“The group’s assets are well located and the team is known for providing excellent hospitality experiences,” Lee Kuk Sun, chief investment officer of real estate at Gulf Investment Corporation, said in a statement. “We believe this investment will yield resilient returns and is a testament to our confidence in the Greek and broader European tourism sector over the long term.”
SIG said its partnership with GIC will strengthen the company as it invests 900 million euros to expand its business over five years. The company owns and operates 10 resorts with more than 2,750 rooms across Greece and Spain. It has secured four new projects, which promise to bring in an additional 1,578 rooms, suites and villas when the properties become operational between 2023 and 2025.
GIC is investing in SIG amid a worldwide tourism boom as governments increasingly work to ease travel restrictions imposed at the height of the pandemic. The company said bookings at SIG resorts this year are up 52% from last year, and up 57% since 2019.
The investment in SIG comes a week after GIC announced that it had agreed to acquire Store Capital Corp. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, a US real estate investment trust, is an investor, in an all-cash deal valued at about $14 billion. . Gulf Investment Corporation is increasing its investments in real assets as the company seeks better returns amid the global stock market downturn.