March 9, 2011 / 6:40 PM / 7 years ago

Hilton CEO says in no rush for IPO

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Hilton Worldwide Chief Executive Chris Nassetta said the hotel operator was not rushing to go public and would concentrate for now on expanding in fast-growing markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

“(An initial public offering) is certainly something we will consider at some point,” he told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

“But we’re not in a rush to do an IPO.”

Private equity company Blackstone (BX.N) bought Hilton for $26 billion in 2007 to add to its already-significant portfolio of hotel and resort properties that included more than 100,000 hotel rooms in the United States and Europe.

“An IPO is ultimately something that is up to our parent Blackstone,” Nassetta said.

Hilton Worldwide operates more than 3,600 hotels with brands including the Waldorf Astoria, Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn & Suites and is focusing on expansion in fast-growing markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

“China and India clearly offer major growth,” Nassetta said.

In 2007, only about 15 percent of Hilton’s planned new hotels were outside the company’s U.S. home market. By now, half of new projects are international.

    The company -- founded in 1919 by Conrad Hilton, the great-grandfather of U.S. celebrity socialite Paris Hilton -- has 17,000 rooms, or 90 new hotels, in the pipeline for Europe right now.

    Of those, three new hotels are planned in Germany, including a luxury Waldorf Astoria in Berlin to be opened later this year.

    “There are a number of other projects coming up in Germany that we can’t talk about yet,” Nassetta said, speaking at the company’s new Hilton Hotel at Frankfurt Airport that is under construction and due to be opened this year.

    “It’s not that we’re saying the U.S. doesn’t have growth potential, but it doesn’t have as much as those other fast-growing regions.”

    Editing by Mike Nesbit

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