High-flying Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has sold his stake in the struggling Fairmont The Norfolk and Fairmont Mara Safari Club to a Nepalese for a whopping Sh2.8 billion.
According to the Business Daily, the Prince who is currently caught up in an anti-corruption crackdown back at home, sealed the deal before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nepalese tycoon, associated with the Chaudhary Group acquired the two hotels which last week fired all its employees.
But in a dramatic turn of events, the Fairmont management rescinded on its decision to send its employees packing.
In a memo on Thursday, the management said its earlier decision was reviewed after a consultative meeting held with the Workers Committee Management and the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions and Hospital Workers (KUDHEIHA) on Wednesday.
“We would like to reiterate that the owners, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and subsequently Accor Hotels are very committed towards the health, safety and wellbeing of the employees,” the memo read in part.
“To this end, the Management has withdrawn the said memo as we continue with consultative meetings with all stakeholders until an agreement is reached.”
The daily further details that the Chaudhary Group (CG) is embarking on a year long renovation project.
“…the Nepalese owners are embarking on a full 100 percent renovation that will go for a whole one year.”
The lucrative deal will see the two hotels gain an additional 170 guest rooms and suites, 51 luxury tents and about 10 food and beverage outlets, BD details further.
With stakes in Twitter, News Corp and Citigroup, Prince Al-Waleed is said to be worth at least Sh2.1 trillion, according to Bloomberg.
Apart from being a savvy businessman, the Prince is a philanthropist who in March gave $30million in fight against coronavirus in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
In the same month, however, his net worth is said to have taken a hit following an oil price war with Russia and the economic effects of the novel COVID-19.
His fortunes took a $22.7 billion plunge, the worst in six years.
The sale of the hotels comes at a time when the hospitality and tourism industries in Kenya are experiencing a “downtime” due to the spread of the coronavirus and government measures combating the spread.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday directed the National Treasury to allocate Ksh2 billion to the tourism sector to cushion members of staff affected.
“In order to cushion this workes and to work inline with this sector my administration will focus on intervention by offering an initial Ksh2 billion from the exchequer to support hotels and related establishments.”