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Dubai Group could sell iconic US hotel Jumeirah Essex House for $500m

12 Mar 2012

Dubai’s state-owned investment firm is considering selling iconic Manhattan landmark Jumeirah Essex House, it is understood.

Dubai Group, which is undergoing a $10bn debt restructuring, would hope to raise up to $500m by selling the 80-year-old luxury hotel on Central Park South, according to reports.

The group spent more than $400m when it bought the building in 2005, and said at the time it would undertake a $50m refurbishment of the property.

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the 99.7 per cent owner of the firm through Dubai Holdings.

The group is estimated to owe about $34bn according to Moody’s, with roughly $4bn due to mature this year.

Acting chief executive officer FAdel Al Ali told Reuters, “We constantly review our portfolio of assets and will pursue asset sales in the right market conditions.

“Current global investor demand for world-class hotel assets such as Essex House provides a timely opportunity to capitalise on the repositioning and operational improvements executed by our team.”

Dubai-backed budget hotel chain Travelodge is being circled by two American hedge funds as it too struggles to pay down a mountain of debt.

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