May 22, 2018 / 10:19 AM / in 7 months

AccorHotels to decide on Huazhu board seat after Huazhu buys stake in company

The logo of French hotel operator AccorHotels is seen on a flag pole at the financial and business district of La Defense in Puteaux, near Paris, France, May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - AccorHotels (ACCP.PA) said on Tuesday it will decide in the coming weeks whether to grant Huazhu Hotels (HTHT.O) a board seat after the Chinese hospitality group bought 4.5 percent of its capital.

Huazhu has become the second Chinese company to invest in AccorHotels, Europe’s largest hotel group, joining top shareholder Shanghai Jin Jiang International (600754.SS), which has a 12.4 percent stake.

Huazhu, which is also known as China Lodging Group, said alongside its first-quarter results on May 14 that it had made a “strategic investment” of about 4.5 percent in AccorHotels and asked for a board seat.

Huazhu added that its suggestion had been “positively received” by AccorHotels.

Ties between AccorHotels and Huazhu go back to 2014, when they sealed an alliance to expand AccorHotels’ presence in the fast-growing Chinese hotel and tourism market. The Chinese group has the master franchise for the Mercure and Ibis hotel brands in mainland China, Taiwan and Mongolia.

Under the arrangement, AccorHotels has also taken a 10.8 percent in Huazhu and a seat at Huazhu’s board of directors.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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