Ghion Hotel up for bid again

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – After a year of waiting, the Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervisory Agency (PPESA) is moving on and inviting interested parties to jointly invest in the hotel. A September 2010 deal with Aklile Berhan Mekonnen (Prince) an Ethiopian born Italian based investor and PPESA was terminated when he allegedly failed to make good on a promised deposit within six months, Capital learnt.

PPESA is still interested in a joint venture and, according to the document, it is looking for investors to develop, expand or upgrade Ghion, one of the largest state owned hotels, located in a prime corner of Addis Ababa, bordering the National Palace.

According to the PPESA bid invitation, interested parties, either individually or as a consortium should submit their expression of interest and all the documents including the price offer and design for expansion before April 2, 2012.

The voided deal is not new for Ghion, which has struggled to find a good fit. In 2010, Aklile promised to come up with 210 million dollars as his first registered initial capital down payment. The total investment sum was 310 million dollars, which included 100 million dollars for the government-shared hotel. The deal added that if the investor spent an additional 300 million dollars in the next five years, he would own 80 percent of the Ghion Hotel. The rest would remain state-owned.

Ghion has grabbed the attention of many high profile businesspeople and companies over recent years, after the government invited interested parties to be part of a joint venture in the hotel. However, all of the deals, which included local and foreign speculators, failed.
Fil Wuha Hotel Enterprise and Ghion are the only two hotels controlled under the agency. In the last three years PPESA has transferred Ethiopia and Ras hotels, which have chain hotels in several tourist areas, to private investors.
Similarly the agency has transferred three hotels that were under Ghion Hotel Enterprise located in the northern historical towns.
Currently the government does not have a plan to privatize the other hotel, Fil Wuha which is popular because of its naturally hot spring water.

The Ghion Hotels Enterprise was established in 1951 and used to operate a chain of eleven hotels, which were all found in northern Ethiopia, except the National Hotel in Addis Ababa, sold to the Ethiopian Athletics Federation a year ago. Roha Hotel, one of the hotels administered by Ghion Hotel, was transferred to Ayat Real Estate also two years ago.

Meanwhile, the Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervisory Agency has also invited interested investors for a National Nucleus Project for a Rubber Plantation and Processing plant. It wants to develop the rubber plantation project through a joint venture. The project is one of the long awaited investment opportunities in the country.