February 3, 2016 / 12:31 PM / 4 years ago

AccorHotels boss sees China's Jin Jiang stake rise as friendly

PARIS, Feb 3 (Reuters) - AccorHotels on Wednesday welcomed as friendly a move by Shanghai Jin Jiang International to become top shareholder in Europe’s largest hotel group.

“It is a token of confidence in the group. It is friendly. I see no problem with that. Our capital is open to all,” Chief Executive Sebastien Bazin told Reuters at a digital conference.

Jin Jiang already owns France’s Louvre Hotels Group and is among a growing number of Chinese firms investing in Europe’s tourism industry.

AccorHotels has also been investing, announcing a cash-and-share deal worth $2.9 billion in December to buy FRHI Holdings Ltd, the owner of luxury hotels including London’s Savoy and New York’s Plaza.

Jin Jiang raised its stake in AccorHotels to 6.03 percent from 5.50 percent on Jan. 26 via an entity it controls, The Rubyrock Capital Company Limited, stock market watchdog AMF said in a Feb. 1 filing.

Bazin told Reuters that Shanghai Jin Jiang had informed Accor of the move. Jin Jiang could not be reached for immediate comment.

French and Chinese groups have joined forces in recent years in tourism, including Fosun buying a stake in French holiday group Club Med last year.

As part of its takeover of FRHI, AccorHotels will issue new shares. Once it does, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) will become top AccorHotels stakeholder with 10.5 percent. (Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic, Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Brian Love and Jason Neely)

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