[WATCH] Corinthia to extend its Russian business to Moscow

International Hotel Investments CEO Simon Naudi said that the company had no interest in selling its St George's Bay development once completed, despite a clause in the new deal allowing for it to be transferred to third parties

Corinthia CEO Simon Naudi
Corinthia CEO Simon Naudi

International Hotel Investments (IHI) CEO Simon Naudi has revealed that the company will be opening a hotel in Russia, in a deal which would see the enterprise opening a new premises not far from Moscow’s Red Square. 

“We have just bought a historical building, which is around 45,000 square metres and which we will develop and invest in,” Naudi said.

Naudi was a guest on current affairs programme Xtra, where he said the company also had plans to open hotels in Brussels, Dubai and Bucharest in the coming years.

As regards its local investments, a deal has been proposed for IHI to be given a renewed 99-year lease on land at St George’s Bay. The envisaged deal will allow the company to transfer the deed to any other company without being granted permission by the government, although Naudi said this was not part of the company's plans. 

“The clause gives us the right to sell the hotel, as any company has. The clause also means that any prospective buyer would inherit the conditions binding the contract,” he said. “We intend on keeping hold of the project.”

READ MORE: Konrad Mizzi insists no discounts given in Corinthia deal

The prospective deal has proven to be controversial with environmental groups, developers and real estate agends, and the Nationalist Party all having declared their opposition. Despite this, Naudi defended the deal insisting that the price reflects the conditions and risks that the company would be undertaking if the project were to go through. 

Corinthia plans to build a €400 million six-star hotel and residential complex on the St George’s Bay peninsula.

“The risk, the infrastructure and economic unpredictability are to be considered when setting a price, and we as a board agree on that,” he said. 

 Naudi did not agree with Malta Developers Association (MDA) President Sandro Chetcuti’s comments on last week’s program, where he said that the approval of the project would be ‘economic suicide’. 

“We believe that we will be strengthening the market, as we have done in the past. The new hotel will be of six-star standard, and we hope that other hotels follow suit,” he said.

READ ALSO: [WATCH] Developers think Corinthia land transfer could be illegal state aid

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