Lazard and MTI to advise on Sri Lanka state-owned luxury hotel sales

16 July 2018

The Sri Lankan government has finalised its transaction advisory team in preparation for the sale of state-owned Hilton and Hyatt hotel assets in Colombo, with Lazard of Singapore in association with local consultancy MTI beating out a long list of bidders.

Following a Request for Proposals call for advisers from Sri Lanka’s Public Enterprise Development Ministry at the beginning of the year, and a later announced short-list of candidates including KPMG, Hotelivate, JLL Property Consultants (India), and Lazard Asia, the National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry has now declared Lazard of Singapore and home-grown consultancy MTI Consulting as the successful bidders. 

According to the tender, Lazard and MTI will be tasked with advising the relevant ministry on a strategic course for the divestment of its Hilton and Grand Hyatt assets, while courting and evaluating the suitability of potential international investors. According to reports, the government wishes to offer a strategic controlling stake to a qualified and reputable investor in the two state-owned holding companies which in turn own the Hilton and Hyatt, with the balance of shares to be offered publically by way of an ‘offer for sale’ listing.

The two companies, Hotel Developers, which owns the Hilton, and Canwill Holdings, owned by a trio of state-entities and the owner of the Grand Hyatt construction development in turn, were identified by the government in 2016 as non-strategic enterprises subject to a strategy of divestment – with the five-star Grand Hyatt development, built for the most part on government-lease land, expected for completion later this year.Lazard and MTI selected as advisors for Sri Lanka state-owned luxury hotel sale With this latest step in the process of offloading its shares, the Economic Affairs Ministry said on its website: “We are pleased to inform you that the Cabinet Appointed Consultant Procurement Committee has recommended Lazard Asia Ltd. of Singapore in association with MTI Consulting to be awarded the contract. They will act as an international transaction advisor for the sale of Government ownership in Hilton and Grand Hyatt Hotels.”

While Lazard is an international behemoth founded in 1848 (with its Singapore branch opening in 1995), the home-grown MTI Consulting celebrated just its 20th birthday last year, but has in that time spread its services to projects in more than 40 countries – and can now boast of its own association deep into the century before last, having recently teamed up with the 1841-founded local law firm F. J. & G. de Saram to establish Legal Source, a joint legal services venture.

Together, the awarded firms have beaten out a lengthy list of high-profile contract contenders, with, according to public ministry documents, PwC (Singapore), Colliers International (Singapore), Savills (Singapore), Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (India) and the short-listed KPMG (Colombo) among them. Meanwhile, according to Crowe HTL, the hotel, tourism & leisure arm of the global accounting and professional services network, Colombo is the third fastest growing visitor destination in the booming Asia Pacific tourism and hospitality market

Surbana Jurong strikes deal to develop shipping corridor across Mexico

19 April 2019

Singapore-headquartered urban and infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong has been appointed as a master-planner for the Interoceanic Corridor project in Mexico.

At 40 kilometers wide and 300 long, Mexico’s slated $150 million Interoceanic Corridor will dissect the country’s Tehuantepec isthmus to connect its Atlantic and Pacific coasts – with the aim of facilitating trade and fast-tracking local economic growth. Now, the project has a new and far more distant connection, with the involvement of Singaporean-headquartered infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong.

Striking a deal with the Mexican state governments of Veracruz and Oaxaca, Surbana Jurong will develop a strategic plan for the Interoceanic Corridor as well as provide master planning on two associated special economic zones, in what the rapidly growing firm states is a significant milestone in its international aspirations – which over the past few years have already seen its presence grow to 130-plus offices in more than 40 countries.

“We are privileged to be appointed as master planners for the Interoceanic Corridor project. Surbana Jurong has a strong track record, having delivered master plans for projects in over 30 countries and are pleased to contribute our expertise towards Mexico’s development success,” said Surbana Jurong Group CEO Wong Heang Fine on helping to unlock the region’s economic potential.Surbana Jurong strikes deal to develop interoceanic corridor across MexicoAccording to the firm, the agreement will see Surbana Jurong perform a detailed review of the Interoceanic Corridor including its broad socio-economic benefits to the region and potential growth industrial clusters, with the strategic plan comprising of recommendations on market positioning and development directions, proposals for utilities and services infrastructure, and zoning plans to identify land use distribution along the corridor.

In addition, the firm will devise the master plan for two economic development areas along the Interoceanic Corridor in the states of Veracruz and Oaxaca, guiding the physical development of the two industrial sites through planning of land use, infrastructure, utilities and transportation – with the aim of “creating a conducive environment for investment and providing a quality living environment for the people that live and work there.”

“We are pleased to see the partnership continue to make progress since we started this conversation a few years ago,” said Khor Aik Lam, Latin America Regional Group Director of Enterprise Singapore, which helped facilitate the deal. “The strong commitment and joint efforts from all parties have culminated in this milestone venture to bring Singapore’s economic development capabilities to Mexico.”

Connecting the ports of Salinas Cruz on the Pacific coast and Coatzacoalcos on the Atlantic, the local Interoceanic Corridor is one of a number of proposed or under development cross-continental shipping routes to rival the Panama Canal, including routes across Guatemala and Nicaragua – with the contemporary race harking back to the 19th Century when a number of American industry and shipping titans fought to be the first.