NEW LIBYAN GOVERNMENT MAY TRY TO REGAIN CONTROL OF UMUBANO HOTEL
As the evaluation of the value of the former Laico property in Kigali by PriceWaterhouseCoopers is nearing completion, indications have emerged that the new Libyan government may wish to regain control of the hotel. The Umubano Hotel was during the sanctions period against the former Gadaffi regime taken over by the Rwandan government and then eventually put on the market for sale, pending a formal evaluation of its market value. The Libyan government through their Laico hotel management and ownership company held 60 percent of the shares in the hotel, with the Rwandan government holding the balance of 40 percent, but in view of the failure at the time by Laico to undertake the committed renovations and upgrading, eventually repossessed the property for breach of contract.
Information from Kigali now says that the Libyans are likely to make a bid for the full acquisition of the hotel as the new government seeks to restore market confidence in their ability to fulfill undertakings and strengthen existing investments, not just in the hospitality industry but also in banking, insurance, housing construction and telecom companies, the previous regime had invested in across Africa. The buyers will acquire the property fully under the terms set by the Rwandan government for the divestiture of the Umubano Hotel and require a pedigree in hotel management as well as the financial ability to modernize and completely refurbish the hotel immediately after a purchase deal has been concluded. The bidding process is expected to go underway again before the middle of the year and new owners should be in place by late 2012.