DUBAI, April 28 Dubai government-owned hotelier Jumeirah Group, a unit of Dubai Holding, said on Wednesday it planned to open ten hotels in the next 18 months, and launch a new hotel brand, after strong results in the first quarter.
The luxury hotel management group said it expected to open the new hotels in locations including Frankfurt, Kuwait, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Shanghai.
Jumeirah's parent company Dubai Holding [DUBAHC.UL], the investment conglomerate owned by the emirate's ruler, is considering restructuring up to $20 billion in debt, the FT reported on March 29. [ID:nLDE62S097]
The move would be another blow to indebted Dubai, one of seven members comprising the UAE.
Dubai Holding spans financial investments, hospitality and real estate.
Earlier in April, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, the head of the emirate's main fiscal committee, said Dubai Holding does not need assistance and is problem-free. [ID:nLDE63B20M]
Jumeirah is one of Dubai's prized assets.
The hotelier said on Wednesday it so far had a total of 32 management agreements to operate hotels globally.
"Jumeirah Group reaffirms its growth strategy of having 60 hotels signed up by 2012," the company said. "The company also feels confident that it will have 30 hotels open in 2013."
In Dubai, the hotelier's beachfront properties saw occupancy of 92.5 percent in April and an average of 89 percent in February and March, it said.
In New York, Jumeirah Essex House registered average occupancy rates of 85 percent in April, with "strong business on the books for the late Spring and Summer seasons".
London properties saw a similar performance, it said.
The company also named VENU Hotels as its new brand, to launch later this year, after locations of its first set of hotels is confirmed.
"The Group is in advanced stages of negotiation with developers interested in opening VENU branded hotels in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific," the firm said. (Reporting by Tamara Walid; Editing by Jason Benham and Jon Loades-Carter)