ANA hotel sale nears

SYDNEY - Singaporean investor Far East Organisation is believed to be the front runner to buy Sydney's ANA Harbour Grand Hotel. Australia's Financial Review reports that a second round of bids on the hotel closed mid-month, and Far East, Thakral Holdings, and US group Colony Capital are among those believed to have registered interest. Hotel analysts said price would have been the major stumbling block for most of the prospective buyers. Owner All Nippon Airways was holding out for more than A$200 million (US$115 million), which represents a sale yield of less than six per cent. "Most of the Asian companies have a very long-term view and tend to buy on lower yields," said the analyst. Far East owns and operates a stable of hotels throughout Asia as does its sister company in Hong Kong, the Sino Group, which restored Singapore's (US$115.3m) Fullerton building at the mouth of the Singapore River into a five-star hotel, The Fullerton. The Financial Review says it is rumoured Far East could team with Mandarin Oriental, which has been scouting for an Australian property for many years. The 561-room ANA is situated in Sydney's historic precinct of The Rocks.

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