Starwood Hotels & Resorts Inc.
) is all set to reinvigorate its Le Meridien brand globally and
plans to invest about $3 billion in both existing and new
properties. Apart from a robust pipeline planned for the next
year, Starwood also intends to invest another $1 billion to
strengthen its world-class portfolio.
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Acquired in Nov 2005, the French brand - Le Meridien rides on a
high growth vehicle and already has a global presence with nearly
100 hotels in more than 40 countries. Well known for its upscale
hospitality, management sees the brand as a lucrative target for
further reinvigoration. The brand has considerable demand in
North American markets.
Currently, the Le Méridien portfolio is stronger than ever before
and continues to benefit from increasing popularity and deal
signings. It has signed more deals in the past year than it did
in the past four years taken together.
Prior to this, Le Méridien Hotels announced its plans to open 10
resorts and hotels by early 2014. Also, in March, this Zacks Rank
#3 (Hold) company announced refurbishment projects at 13 Le
Meridien hotels in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) regions. The
project will cost approximately $200 million and will be
completed in three years.
Over the past seven years, Le Meridien has undergone extensive
makeover and restructuring. The brand has eliminated more than 40
properties since Starwood acquired it, while another 25 hotels
underwent a facelift.
Hotel companies across the globe have been diligently working on
their properties over the last couple of years to augment guest
satisfaction and stay competitive. Hence, brand enhancement has
become a trend today.
Le Meridien is not the only brand Starwood is focusing on. Last
year, Sheraton, another of its brands, also went through a $6
billion brand-wide revitalization program.
Some other players in the leisure and recreational industry,
which look attractive at current levels, include
Life Time Fitness Inc.
) and The
Madison Square Garden Company
), both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Another company, which
sells recreational products,
Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc.
) can also be considered as it carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong