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International Hotel Investments p.l.c.

Annual Report & Financial Statements

31 December 2021

 

 

 

Contents

 
Group structure

Our portfolio

Board of directors

Chairman’s statement

CEO’s report

Directors’ report

Statement by the directors on the financial statements and other information

Statement by the directors on non-financial information

Statement by the directors on compliance with the Code of Principles of Good

Other disclosures in terms of the Listing Rules

Remuneration statement

Consolidated financial statements:

            Income statement

            Statement of comprehensive income

            Statement of financial position

            Statement of changes in equity

            Statement of cash flows

Company financial statements:

            Statement of comprehensive income

            Statement of financial position

            Statement of changes in equity

            Statement of cash flows

Notes to the financial statements

Independent auditors’ report

 

Company registration number: C 26136

 

GROUP STRUCTURE

From concept to acquisition, design and development through to successful operation, the IHI Group is uniquely positioned in the industry. The Group is determined to build on the success of its iconic Corinthia Hotels brand, pursue related real estate projects, and explore opportunities with like-minded third parties in key locations around the world.

THE GROUP COMPRISES A NUMBER OF KEY SUBSIDIARY ENTITIES:

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CORINTHIA HOTELS LIMITED

is a hotel, resort and catering management company which manages hotels under the Corinthia brand, worldwide.

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CORINTHIA DEVELOPMENTS INTERNATIONAL LIMITED (CDI)

is a development company which originates, plans, structures, transacts and manages the Group’s ongoing developments.

 

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QP LIMITED

is a project management company which supports the Group and third parties with architectural, engineering, management and technical construction services.

 

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OUR PORTFOLIO

 

OUR VISION IS TO BUILD CORINTHIA WORLDWIDE, NOT ONLY WITHIN EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST, BUT EQUALLY IN THE WORLD’S MAIN GATEWAY CITIES AND RESORTS.

 

– HOTELS OWNED & MANAGED –

 

 

BRUSSELS*

Corinthia Hotel

(Opening 2024 former Grand Hotel Astoria) 126 Rooms / 50% Holding

MALTA

Corinthia Palace Hotel – Attard

150 Rooms / 100% Holding

 

MOSCOW*

Corinthia Hotel & Residences

(opening 2023)

50 Rooms / 10% Holding

BUDAPEST

Corinthia Hotel

(former Grand Hotel Royal) 439 Rooms / 100% Holding

Corinthia Hotel – St George’s Bay 250 Rooms / 100% Holding

 

PRAGUE

Corinthia Hotel

551 Rooms / 100% Holding

 

LISBON

Corinthia Hotel

518 Rooms / 100% Holding

Radisson Blu Resort & Spa

– Golden Sands

329 Rooms / 100% Holding

 

ST PETERSBURG

Corinthia Hotel

385 Rooms / 100% Holding

 

LONDON

Corinthia Hotel & Residences

283 Rooms / 50% Holding

Marina Hotel – St George’s Bay

200 Rooms / 100% Holding

 

TRIPOLI

Corinthia Hotel

300 Rooms / 100% Holding

*Partly owned

 

Radisson Blu Resort – St Julian’s 252 Rooms / 100% Holding

 

 

 

 

 

 

– HOTELS MANAGED –

 

 

BUCHAREST

Corinthia Hotel

(opening 2023 former Grand Hotel Du Boulevard)

30 Rooms

 

NEW YORK  

100 Rooms

12 Residences

(opening 2024)

PRAGUE

Panorama Hotel

440 Rooms

 

BUDAPEST

Aquincum Hotel

310 Rooms

 

KHARTOUM

Corinthia Hotel

230 Rooms

 

ROME

Corinthia Hotel

(opening 2023)

60 Rooms

DOHA

Corinthia Hotel, Residences, Golf & Yacht Club

(opening 2022/3)

110 Rooms

 

 

TUNIS

Ramada Plaza

309 Rooms

 

 

 

 

– LAND & COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES –

BUDAPEST

Royal Residences

 

MALTA

Corinthia Oasis

(Detailed design underway)

 

ST PETERSBURG

Nevskij Plaza Shopping & Office Centre

 

LONDON

10, Whitehall Place Residences

 

 

 

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MOSCOW

Corinthia Residences

(Under Development)

 

TRIPOLI

Corinthia Commercial Centre

 

 

Board of Directors

 

ALFRED PISANI

Executive Chairman of IHI. He founded the Corinthia Group in 1962 and has guided the Group and IHI ever since, spearheading investment and growth across three continents over five decades.

 

 

SALEM M.O. HNESH ( Resigned 8 July 2021)

Appointed General Manager of Libyan Foreign Investment Company (LAFICO) in August 2018.  He is a former Chairman and CEO of Asteris in Greece and Chairman and CEO of Libyan Greek Investment Company. Mr Hnesh is a graduate in agricultural engineering from the University of Tripoli.

 

 

JOSEPH FENECH (Appointed 20 April 2021)

Joseph Fenech is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants of the United Kingdom and a Fellow of the Malta Institute of Accountants. Mr Fenech joined the Corinthia Group in 1980.  Mr Fenech enjoys an acknowledged reputation in the hotel business and corporate financing, having been intimately involved in the Corinthia Group for the past 41 years.

 

HAMAD BUAMIM

President and CEO of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and serves as the Deputy Chairman of the World Chambers Federation – ICC – in Paris. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the UAE Central Bank, Chairman of National General Insurance and Board Member of Union Properties.

 

 

DAVID CURMI (Appointed 17 February 2021)

Mr Curmi is a financial services professional and corporate executive.  He is currently the Executive Chairman of Air Malta p.l.c., the flag carrier airline of the Maltese Islands. Mr Curmi is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute of the United Kingdom and a Chartered Insurer. He is also a Director of Midi p.l.c., Deputy Chairman of Plaza Centres p.l.c., Director of QP Management, Member of the Board of the Doctoral School (University of Malta), Chairman of L.B. Factors Ltd (a Lasselsberger Group Company) and Member of the Board of the Insurance Protection and Compensation Fund.

 

 

ABDULNASER AHMIDA

Head of the Risk Management Department at LAFICO. He is a director of ASRY, Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard in Bahrain. He is a graduate in computer engineering from Naser University and holds a Masters in Finance, Accounting and Management from Bradford University.

 

 

JOSEPH PISANI

Founder director and member of the main board of Corinthia Palace Hotel Company Limited (CPHCL) as from 1962, and has served on a number of boards of subsidiary companies. From 2000 to 2014 he has served as Chairman of the Monitoring Committee of IHI.

 

 

FRANK XERRI DE CARO

Joined the Board of IHI in 2005, having previously been the General Manager of Bank of Valletta p.l.c., besides serving on the boards of several major financial, banking and insurance institutions. He is also Senior Independent Director and Chairman of the IHI Audit Committee.

 

 

DOURAID ZAGHOUANI

Chief Operating Officer of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD). Previously, he was with Xerox for over 25 years, holding a number of senior management, sales and marketing posts in Europe and North America. Was Board Chairman of several Xerox companies; his last appointment was Corporate Officer and President, Channel Partner Operations for Xerox in New York.

 

 

JEAN-PIERRE SCHEMBRI

Company Secretary, joined IHI in 2018. Mr Schembri occupied senior positions within the EU Institutions and Maltese public service.  He served at the Permanent Representation of Malta to the EU.  He joined the European Union Civil Service in 2012 where he occupied the senior management positions within the European Asylum Support Office. While at EASO, he also headed the board secretariat of the agency.

 

 

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Chairman’s Statement

 

Dear fellow shareholders,

 

2021 has been another year of continuous, unrelenting challenges. From the very start, we were aware of the difficult times ahead because March 2020 had brought with it the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within a short time, no part of the world was safe against this virus. Obviously, human contact was curtailed to its barest minimum and our industry of hospitality bore the largest brunt. We did not expect Malta to be different. We did not expect Corinthia to be the exception.

 

In full recognition of the ongoing difficulties, Corinthia did not lose any time in reacting quickly to this ongoing reality.  As previously mentioned, we took the bull by its horns and resorted to a series of corrective measures to limit the damage as much as possible.  Measures mainly focused in protecting our cashflow, when we asked all our employees to take a cut in their take-home pay.  For sure, these were drastic measures which were only successful through the unbending support of all our employees.  The Board, and for sure no less the Shareholders, are ever indebted to our Management and general employees, that is our colleagues, for placing the Company above their personal needs.  This overwhelming support safeguarded the Company’s cashflow reserves, more so as the end of the tunnel was not yet in sight.

 

We were fortunate that in most of the countries we operate, the relative governments introduced different schemes to support the hotel industry, including salary subsidies and waiver or deferral of payroll taxes and social security contributions. We are indeed most grateful for all this, which provided a life-support injection of the right assistance and at the right time.


In 2021, following a difficult first half of the year, we started seeing a gradual recovery in the second half. In fact, the second half of 2021 had been marked by a gradual relaxation of COVID-related restrictions which, in turn, led to a general improvement in the hotel industry with overall forecasts showing a gradual increase in bookings, translating in increased revenues month-on-month. However, in November we were once again faced by a further COVID variant which cut short our recovery.

Nevertheless, looking back at 2021, I believe that we can all be proud of the cost saving measures we have taken and what we have achieved   notwithstanding   the   unprecedented   challenges we had to face. In parallel, it’s also most relevant to report that opportunities also came our way, in that in March 2021 we acquired the other 50% shareholding in Golden Sands at a discounted price. Also by the end of last year, we concluded with Government an enhancement value for the residential development at Ħ al Ferh. We also successfully issued an €80 million Bond, which was indeed a public certificate of confidence in the Company and its vision.

 

From a financial point of view, in 2021, despite all the challenges, I am happy to report that we surpassed the objective set by the Board to achieve a cash breakeven for the year. I believe you will all join me in congratulating management and general employees on these results.  In 2021, the Group achieved operating results before depreciation and fair value of €26.5 million as compared to a loss of €3.8 million in 2020, prior to approximately €23 million to cover interest on bonds and bank loans, giving a total cash loss of €26.8 million for 2020, whilst our operations in 2021 generated sufficient cash to meet all interest on our bonds and bank loans.  We are now looking at 2022 with greater confidence and hope that we can surpass last year’s result.

 

We are also following closely the events in Russia, where both the hotel and the Commercial Centre in St Petersburg are presently fully operational.  IHI’s interest in St Petersburg represents approximately 8% of the Group’s total revenue and assets and these events are therefore not expected to have an overall material impact on our performance.

 

OUR DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

As I mentioned on previous occasions, the Corinthia Group has a multi-pronged capability to function as developer, investor, project manager and ultimately hotel operator, as we offer the following services:

 

   Property ownership through IHI;

   Developers through CDI;

   Project Management through QP;

   Hotel Management through CHL;

   Industrial catering through Corinthia Caterers.

 

This multi-faceted approach has proved very beneficial especially when certain difficulties may hinder some activities but still allow others to operate profitably.

 

Developments in Malta

 

In respect of the Corinthia Oasis (formally known as Ħal Ferh), I believe it is pertinent for me to remind everyone that this land belongs exclusively to IHI on a freehold basis. In 2020, a new Development Brief for the area was approved by Parliament which allows 9,000sqm of our total 25,000sqm permitted floor area for development to be shifted to residential use.  In this regard, in October 2021, we signed the deed with Government for the enhanced value for changing 9,000 sqm GFA from touristic to residential use.

 

Moreover, in July 2021, the Group submitted a revised planning application to the Planning Authority for the development of an upscale resort over the Ħal Ferħ Site of 85,000 sqm. The regeneration project will include a 162-key 5-star resort hotel, a top-tier spa and wellness centre, 25 detached hotel-serviced residences and a host of ancillary resort amenities.

 

As part of the Corinthia Oasis project, the Company has invested half a million Euros in an adjacent car park to accommodate 330 car spaces and additional spaces for 40 motorcycles, for use by the local community and administered by the Scouts Association.

 

At the time of writing, Corinthia is proceeding with the demolition works, clearance of site, carting away and dumping of material, in line with planning authority permit requirements as originally issued under permit number PA/03134/19.


Concurrently with the Oasis project, we are now planning for
the refurbishment of the Corinthia Palace Hotel and the Corinthia St George s Bay.

 

As to the Corinthia Palace, Attard, the Company initiated an extensive refurbishment of the hotel and a complete transformation of the spa and gym facilities . The final phase of this ongoing upgrade will include The Classical Villa , which is the main dining area of the hotel and also an upgrade of the third-floor bedrooms being converted to state of the art suites. Also, in February, we opened in partnership with LL Holdings, the Bahia Restaurant, which enjoys a Michelin star, and which is proving very successful with customers.  Finally, it is our plan to make the Corinthia Palace Hotel the best hotel of the Group and to act as a benchmark for all our other properties. 

 

Our overall vision for the properties we have in Malta, more so that we now own 100% of the Golden Sands Resort and about to kick start the development of the Corinthia Oasis at Ħ al Ferh, is that we need to be conscious and in tune with the direction of how the island intends to position itself in the tourist industry for the years ahead.  With the development of the Corinthia Oasis, our Company will have 6 properties on the island, which is a clear manifestation of our belief in the tourist industry of Malta, guiding us to look at a future of upgrading all our properties.  We do have an overall concept of how to regenerate our hotels, particularly the Golden Sands Resort with 338 keys to standards that justify its beautiful location.  However, we will mark our time in parallel with the general upgrading of the Malta tourist product, so necessary for the future success of tourism for our island.  Corinthia strongly believes that the future of Malta’s tourism is not necessarily focused solely in having higher numbers of visitors but should be more focused to raise the quality of our product and attract a higher-spending visitor for all classes of our hotels.  The island has all the ingredients to attract tourists who would be prepared to pay higher rates, be it for our 3, 4 or 5 star hotels, though this will need an overall plan, over a period of 5 to 7 years, to uplift the general image and product on offer in Malta. 

 

Overseas developments

 

Notwithstanding the past difficult two years of 2020 and 2021, we have nonetheless continued to move the Company forward with the development of our Corinthia Brussels which we are targeting to open in April 2024 as also our hotels in Bucharest, Rome, Doha and New York where management / lease contracts have been signed and put into effect with opening dates varying from 2023 and thereafter. We are set on this path of growth which will continue, even more so once certain ongoing negotiations are concluded, elevating our Company to a higher level of excellence and visibility. We are also focused in further expanding our interests in Libya as our presence in this country offers tremendous potential of future growth. These objectives and many more will be pursued as it is our ambition to see every subsidiary of our group expanding on all fronts, be it our company for development, CDI, as also our project management Company, QP and our hotel operations Company, CHL plus new investments in the future.

 

Other developments

 

As everyone appreciates, Corinthia has, over the many years, focused on developing a 5-star brand, in fact the name Corinthia has now become synonymous with this level of service and is widely recognized internationally.  Nevertheless, in looking forward to expand our reach, we see the need to also provide hotel management services for 4-star properties, of which there are many more on the market.  Consequently, the Board has instructed Management to set up this new service for 4-star properties.  We will agree a different brand name and, at the opportune moment, make the necessary announcements. 

 

We will achieve all this and more.

 

Our Future

 

At this point, allow me to refer you to my report of last year when I had informed of our future plans to go for a second listing in a liquid market, giving us the opportunity of raising new capital. This is not something that can happen overnight for a lot of preparation is needed. As a first step in this direction, we have in the past year strengthened our structures for Corporate Governance by putting additional resources on compliance and also introducing new committees to oversee our assets and future investments. I intend to continue strengthening such structures in the coming months.

 

Corinthia Family

 

Finally, dear Shareholders, I constantly feel the need to draw attention and highlight the importance to what we consider to be very special within our Company, that which we call the Spirit of Corinthia , a spirit that we have maintained and possibly further nourished during this difficult period of the last 2 years.  Please allow me to share with you the results of a recent study carried out as part of our non-financial reporting in this year’s Annual Report of how members of the Corinthia family reacted during the pandemic period in relation to those in need. This study showed that instead of the tragic and dismal COVID days having a negative effect on the Corinthia family, we on the other hand experienced a sharp increase of interest in assisting our colleagues and re-vamping of the methods of assistance in view of the stringent limitations of contact imposed by health regulations, reminding me of the words I had shared many years back: It is us the people that give the soul to the company. In fact, I look at the propert y to represent the body and notwithstanding that it is important for us to look after all our properties as much as we look after ourselves, one must keep in mind that it is the people - that is all of you – all of us - that represent the soul of this company … We are known for our beautiful trophy properties and our wonderful customer services, but it is our integrity and humanity - our care for one another - which gives us something even more valuable, and enables us to achieve something even more special …all very much valued by our customers.”

  

I think these words have acquired a new dimension. This empathy towards each other and this concern for the needs of one another will also sharpen our relationship within the Company where we can lean on each other when facing new realities and problems.

 

The future beckons to all those who have a vision and who believe in themselves and persevere to overcome all obstacles, in their ideals of excellence, in their steady camaraderie, in their determination to live their dreams of their forward journey.

 

In conclusion, may I express my heartfelt thanks to each and every employee for their perseverance in these difficult times. To all of you, I express my wholehearted gratitude. I have had occasions to refer to them as heroes, and indeed heroes they are.

 

Dear Shareholders, together we have come through a very trying period with repeated setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has challenged our way of working, nevertheless we are confident that the experience that we have gained will work to our advantage for the future. 

 

Hopefully, we now look forward to resuming our path of growth and once again achieve the road to profitability, making it possible to issue dividends on a regular basis. Therefore, I would like to express my genuine appreciation to all of you for your belief and standing with the Company whilst sailing together through these turbulent waters, emerging stronger than ever before, and for this I thank you all.

 

Signed by Alfred Pisani (Executive Chairman) on 20 April 2022.

 

 

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Indirizz taċ-Chairman għas-sena li tispiċċa 31 ta’ Diċembru 2021

 

G ħe żież ħbieb azzjonisti ,

Is-sena 2021 kienet sena oħra ta’ sfidi kontinwi. Konna konxji mill-bidunett miż-żminijiet iebsin li kellna quddiemna, għaliex Marzu tas-sena ta’ qabel, 2020, kien ġab miegħu l-bidu tal-pandemija COVID. F’qasir żmien, l-ebda parti tad-dinja ma kienet sigura kontra dan il-virus. Ovvjament, il-kuntatt uman tnaqqas b’mod drastiku għall-inqas possibbli u l-industrija tagħna tal-ospitalità qalgħet l-akbar daqqa. Ma stennejniex li s-sitwazzjoni f’Malta kienet ser tkun differenti. Anqas ma stennejna li Corinthia tkun l-eċċezzjoni.

 

Kompletament konxji mid-diffikultajiet, Corinthia ma tilfet l-ebda żmien biex tirrejaġixxi għal din ir-rejaltà.  Kif konna diġà ħabbarna, ħadna azzjoni immedjata u wettaqna serje ta’ miżuri korrettivi biex nillimitaw id-danni bl-aħjar mod possibbli. Użajna miżuri ffukati biex nipproteġu l-cashflow tagħna meta tlabna lill-impjegati kollha tagħna li titnaqqsilhom il-paga. Ċertament, dawn kienu miżuri drastiċi li rnexxew biss minħabba l-appoġġ sod tal-impjegati kollha tagħna. Il-Bord, u ċertament mhux anqas l-Azzjonisti, jħossuhom grati lejn il-Management u l-impjegati l-oħra kollha, jiġifieri l-kollegi tagħna, talli dawn poġġew il-Kumpanija qabel il-bżonnijiet personali tagħhom. Dan l-appoġġ tassew qawwi ssalvagwardja r-riżervi tal-cashflow tal-Kumpanija, speċjalment fi żmien meta ma kellniex idea kif ser tiżvolġi s-sitwazzjoni. 

 

Konna fortunati li fil-maġġoranza tal-pajjiżi fejn noperaw, il-gvernijiet relattivi introduċew skemi differenti biex jgħinu l-industrija tal-lukandi, inklużi sussidji ta’ salarji u tneħħija jew differimenti ta’ taxxi fuq salarji u kontribuzzjonijiet tas-sigurtà soċjali. Aħna tassew grati għal din l-għajnuna li kienet ġusta u f’waqtha.

 

Fis-sena 2021, wara nofs sena iebsa, bdejna naraw titjib bil-mod fit-tieni nofs tas-sena. Fil-fatt, fit-tieni nofs tal-2021 bdew jiġu rilassati xi restrizzjonijiet marbuta mal-COVID, li bdew itejbu b’mod ġenerali l-industrija tal-lukandi u bdew joħorġu tbassir li juru żieda gradwali fil-prenotazzjonijiet li jwasslu għal aktar dħul, xahar wara xahar. Madankollu, f’Novembru tfaċċa varjant ieħor tal-COVID li waqqaf ħesrem l-irkupru li konna ksibna.

 

Għaldaqstant, meta nħares lura lejn l-2021, nemmen li għandna tassew ilkoll inkunu kburin bil-miżuri ta’ tnaqqis ta’ spejjeż li ħadna, u b’dak li akkwistajna minkejja l-isfidi bla preċedent li kellna niffaċċjaw. Fl-istess ħin, hu rilevanti wkoll li nirrapporta opportunitajiet li tfaċċaw quddiemna. F’Marzu tal-2021, akkwistajna 50% tal-ishma f’Golden Sands għal prezz skontat. Ukoll ikkonkludejna mal-Gvern qabel l-aħħar tas-sena li għaddiet, il-valur ta’ titjib (enhancement value) tal-iżvilupp residenzjali ta’ Ħal Ferħ. Ħriġna wkoll b’suċċess, Bond ta’ 80 miljun ewro. Din kienet wirja ta’ fiduċja mill-pubbliku ta’ kunfidenza fil-Kumpanija u fil-viżjoni tagħha.

 

Minn perspettiva finanzjarja, għandi l-pjaċir inħabbar li fis-sena 2021, minkejja l-isfidi kollha li kellna, rnexxielna naqbżu l-obbjettiv li kien stabbilixxa l-Bord li niksbu cash breakeven għas-sena. Ċert li kollha kemm intom tingħaqdu miegħi biex nifirħu lill-management u lill-impjegati l-oħra kollha għal dan ir-riżultat. Fis-sena 2021, il-Grupp wasal għal EBITDA ta’ 26.5 miljun ewro kif imqabbel ma’ telf ta’ 3.8 miljun ewro għas-sena 2020, qabel kważi 23 miljun ewro biex ikopri imgħax fuq bonds u self bankarju, li jwassal għal total ta’ telf kontanti (cash loss) ta’ 26.8 miljun ewro għas-sena 2020, waqt li l-operazjonijiet tagħna fis-sena 2021 iġġeneraw flus kontanti suffiċjenti sabiex inħallsu l-imgħax fuq il-bonds u s-self bankarju tagħna. Issa nħarsu lejn l-2022 b’kunfidenza akbar u b’tama li ntejbu r-riżultat tas-sena li għaddiet.

 

Qegħdin insegwu mill-viċin dak kollu li qed jiġri fir-Russja, fejn kemm il-lukanda kif ukoll iċ-Ċentru Kummerċjali tagħna ġewwa San Petroburgu bħalissa qegħdin joperaw b’mod normali. L-interess ta’ IHI f’San Petroburgu jirrappreżenta bejn wieħed u ieħor 8% tad-dħul u assi totali tal-Grupp u għalhekk dawn l-avvenimenti mhux mistennija jkollhom impatt materjali fuq il-prestazzjoni tagħna.

 

IL-PROĠETTI TAŻ-ŻVILUPP TAGĦNA

 

Kif tennejt f’okkażjonijiet oħra, il-Grupp Corinthia għandu kapaċità multipla li jopera bħala żviluppatur, investitur, manager ta’ proġetti, kif ukoll operatur ta’ lukandi, billi joffri dawn is-servizzi:

 

   Sidien ta’ propjetà permezz ta’ IHI;

   Żviluppaturi permezz ta’ CDI;

   Managers ta’ proġetti permezz ta’ QP;

   Managers ta’ lukandi permezz ta’ CHL;

   Catering industrijali permezz ta’ Corinthia Caterers.

 

Dan l-approċċ multiplu wera li hu ta’ benefiċċju kbir, speċjalment meta ċerti diffikultajiet jistgħu jxekklu xi attivitajiet waqt li jħallu oħrajn joperaw bi qliegħ.

 

Żviluppi f’Malta

 

Dwar il-Corinthia Oasis, li kien ukoll magħruf bħala Ħal Ferħ, nemmen li hi ħaġa siewja li nfakkar lil kulħadd li din l-art hi propjetà esklussiva ta’ IHI, libera u franka.  Fis-sena 2020 kien hemm Development Brief ġdid għal din il-propjetà li ġie approvat mill-Parlament u li ppermetta 9,000 metru kwadru biex jintużaw għal skop residenzjali minn total ta’ 25,000 metru kwadru li kellhom permessi għal żvilupp. F’dan ir-rigward, f’Ottubru tal-2021, iffirmajna kuntratt mal-Gvern għall-valur ta’ titjib jew enhancement value, minħabba t-tibdil ta’ użu ta’ 9,000 metru kwadru minn użu turistiku għal wieħed residenzjali.

 

Barra minn hekk, f’Lulju tal-2021, il-Grupp issottometta applikazzjoni emendata ta’ pjanar lill-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar għal żvilupp ta’ upscale resort fuq is-sit ta’ Ħal Ferħ ta’ 85,000 metru kwadru. Dan il-proġett ta’ riġenerazzjoni jinkludi Resort Hotel ta’ 5 stilel, 162 kamra, spa u wellness centre tal-ogħla livell, 25 residenza detached li jgawdu servizzi mill-lukanda u għadd ta’ amenitajiet oħra.

 

Bħala parti mill-proġett Corinthia Oasis, il-Kumpanija nvestiet nofs miljun ewro f’parkeġġ biswit, bi spazju għal 330 vettura u 40 mutur, għall-użu tal-komunità lokali u amministrat mill-Assoċjazzjoni Maltija tal-iScouts.

 

Bħalissa, Corinthia għaddejja b’xogħol ta’ twaqqiegħ, tindif tas-sit u rimi ta’ materjali, dejjem skont ir-rekwiżiti tal-permess tal-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar, kif maħruġ oriġinarjament bin-numru PA/03134/19.

 

Flimkien mal-proġett Oasis, qegħdin nippjanaw rinnovazzjoni ta’ Corinthia Palace Hotel u Corinthia St George’s Bay.

 

Dwar Corinthia Palace, Ħ’Attard, il-Kumpanija bdiet proġett ta’ rinnovazzjoni estensiva fil-lukanda, u trasformazzjoni kompleta ta’ spa u faċilitajiet ta’ gym. Il-fażi finali ta’ dan it-titjib jinkludi ‘The Classical Villa’, li hi ż-żona prinċipali tal-ikel fil-lukanda, kif ukoll titjib tal-kmamar tas-sodda fit-tielet sular li ser jinbidlu fi suites tal-ogħla livell. Fi Frar, flimkien ma’ LL Holdings, ftaħna Bahia Restaurant, li jgawdi stilla Michelin u qed jikseb ħafna suċċess mal-klijenti. Fl-aħħar, hu l-għan tagħna li nagħmlu Corinthia Palace Hotel l-aħjar lukanda tal-Grupp u li sservi bħala punt ta’ riferiment għall-propjetà l-oħra kollha tagħna.

 

Il-viżjoni ġenerali tagħna għall-propjetà li għandna f’Malta, aktar w aktar issa li għandna 100% ta’ Golden Sands Resort u li ser nibdew l-iżvilupp tal-Corinthia Oasis f’Ħal Ferħ, hu li għandna nkunu konxji u f’sintonija mad-direzzjoni ta’ kif Malta bi ħsiebha tippożizzjona ruħha fl-industrija tat-turiżmu fis-snin li ġejjin. Bl-iżvilupp ta’ Corinthia Oasis, il-Kumpanija tagħna ser ikollha sitt propjetajiet f’din il-gżira. Din hi turija ċara ta’ twemmin tagħna fl-industrija tat-turiżmu f’Malta, u li ser jiggwidana biex inħarsu lejn futur li ser jarana ntejbu l-propjetajiet kollha tagħna. Għandna kunċett ġenerali ta’ kif nirriġeneraw il-lukandi tagħna, speċjalment Golden Sands Resort bi 338 kamra, għal standards li jiġġustifikaw il-posizzjoni sabiħa tagħha. Imma għandna nimxu b’kawtela, b’mod parallel mat-titjib ġenerali tal-prodott turistiku ta’ Malta, li tant hu neċessarju għas-suċċess tal-futur tat-turiżmu fi gżiritna. Corinthia temmen ħafna li l-futur tat-turiżmu f’Malta mhux neċessarjament iffukat biss fuq li jkollna iżjed viżitaturi, iżda għandu jkun aktar iffukat li ngħollu l-kwalità tal-prodott tagħna u niġbdu viżitaturi li jonfqu aktar għal dawk li huma l-klassijiet kollha tal-lukandi tagħna. Din il-gżira tagħna għandha l-ingredjenti kollha biex tiġbed turisti li jkunu lesti jħallsu rati aktar għoljin, kemm għal lukandi ta’ 3, 4 jew 5 stilel. Imma dan jirrikjedi pjan ġenerali fuq perjodu ta’ minn ħamsa sa seba’ snin, biex intejbu d-dehra ġenerali u l-prodott li noffru f’Malta.

 

Żviluppi barra minn Malta

 

Minkejja s-sentejn iebsa li għaddejna fl-2020 u fl-2021, komplejna xorta waħda mmexxu l-Kumpanija tagħna ‘l quddiem bl-iżvilupp ta’ Corinthia Brussels li qed nimmiraw li niftħu f’April 2024, kif ukoll il-lukandi tagħna f’Bukarest, Ruma, Doha u New York fejn il-kuntratti ta’ management/kiri ġew iffirmati u saru effettivi b’dati ta’ ftuħ li jvarjaw minn 2023 ‘l quddiem. Aħna mexjin sodi f’din it-triq ta’ tkabbir li tkompli b’akbar forza, meta ċerti negozjati jkunu konklużi, u li jelevaw il-Kumpanija tagħna għal livelli ogħla ta’ eċċellenza u viżibiltà.

 

Aħna wkoll iffukati li niżviluppaw aktar l-interessi tagħna fil-Libja għaliex il-presenza tagħna f’dan il-pajjiż toffri potenzjal qawwi ta’ tkabbir fil-ġejjieni. Dawn l-għanijiet u ħafna oħrajn jitkomplew għax hi l-ambizzjoni tagħna li naraw il-kumpaniji sussidjarji kollha tal-Grupp jespandu fl-oqsma kollha, kemm għal dik li hi l-kumpanija tagħna taż-żvilupp, CDI, kif ukoll il-kumpanija tagħna ta’ project management, QP, u l-kumpanija tagħna tal-operazzjonijiet ta’ lukandi, CHL, kif ukoll investimenti ġodda fil-futur.

 

Żviluppi Oħrajn

 

Kif jista’ kulħadd japprezza, tul is-snin, Corinthia ffukat fuq l-iżvilupp ta’ marka ta’ 5 stilel. Fil-fatt, l-isem Corinthia sar sinonimu għal dan il-livell ta’ servizz u hu rikonoxxut internazzjonalment. Madankollu, fil-ħarsa tagħna ta’ espansjoni, inħossu l-bżonn li nipprovdu wkoll servizzi ta’ tmexxija ta’ propjetajiet ta’ 4 stilel, li hemm ħafna aktar minnhom fis-suq. Għalhekk il-Bord ħass il-bżonn li jagħti struzzjonijet lill-Management biex jistabbilixxu dan is-servizz ġdid għal propjetajiet ta’ 4 stilel. Ser naqblu fuq isem ġdid ta’ marka u, fil-mument xieraq, inħabbru aktar informazzjoni.

 

Aħna ser niksbu dan kollu w anki aktar.

 

Il-Futur Tagħna

 

Hawnhekk, ippermettuli nirreferikom għar-rapport tiegħi tas-sena li għaddiet meta jien infurmajtkom bi pjani futuri li ngħaddu għat-tieni listing f’suq likwidu, u b’hekk ikollna opportunità li niġbru kapital ġdid. Dan ma jsirx mil-lum għall-għada għaliex hemm bżonn ta’ ħafna xogħol preparattiv. Bħala l-ewwel pass f’din id-direzzjoni, tul is-sena li għaddiet, saħħaħna l-istrutturi tat-tmexxija korporattiva tagħna billi żidna r-riżorsi f’dan il-qasam w introduċejna kumitati oħra li jissorveljaw l-assi tal-Kumpanija u l-investimenti futuri. Bi ħsiebni nkompli nsaħħaħ dawn l-istrutturi fix-xhur li ġejjin.

 

Il-Familja Corinthia

 

Fl-aħħar, għeżież Azzjonisti, jien dejjem inħoss il-bżonn li niġbed l-attenzjoni tagħkom u nenfasizza l-importanza ta’ dak li aħna nikkonsidraw tassew speċjali fil-Kumpanija tagħna, jiġifieri dak li aħna nsejħu l- Ispirtu tal-Corinthia , spirtu li aħna dejjem żammejna u possibilment kattarna aktar tul dan il-perjodu diffiċli tul dawn l-aħħar sentejn. Nitlobkom tippermettuli naqsam magħkom ir-riżultati ta’ studju riċenti magħmul għal parti mir-rappurtaġġ mhux finanzjarju tar-Rapport Annwali ta’ din is-sena, fuq kif il-membri tal-Familja Corinthia rreaġixxew tul il-perjodu ta’ pandemija ma’ dawk li huma fil-bżonn. Dan l-istudju juri li minflok li l-jiem traġiċi u mdallma tal-COVID kellhom effett negattiv fuq il-Famlja Corinthia, aħna, għall-kuntrarju, esperjenzajna żieda qawwija fl-interess li ngħinu lill-kollegi tagħna u nbiddlu u nsaħħu metodi ta’ għajnuna minħabba l-limitazzjonijiet qawwija ta’ kuntatt li ġew imposti mill-awtoritajiet tas-saħħa. Dan kollu jfakkarni fi kliem li jien kont qsamt magħkom snin ilu: “ Huma n-nies, aħna, li nagħtu r-ruħ lil Kumpanija. Infatti, inħares lejn il-propjetà bħala rappreżentazzjoni tal-ġisem u, għalkemm hu importanti li nieħdu ħsieb il-propjetajiet tagħna daqs kemm nagħtu każ lilna nfusna, wieħed għandu jżomm f’moħħu li huma n-nies - jiġifieri intom ilkoll - aħna lkoll - li nirrapreżentaw ir-ruħ ta’ din il-kumpanija… Aħna magħrufa għall-propjetajiet mill-isbaħ tagħna u s-servizz eċċellenti li noffru lill-klijenti tagħna, imma huma l-integrità u l-umanità tagħna - l-attenzjoni tagħna lejn xulxin - li jagħtuna xi ħaġa aktar prezzjuża, u jippermettulna niksbu xi ħaġa aktar speċjali…u dan hu tassew apprezzat mill-klijenti tagħna.

 

Naħseb li dawn il-kliem illum kisbu dimensjoni ġdida. L-empatija lejn xulxin u dan it-tħassib għal xulxin isaħħaħ ir-relazzjonijiet fil-Kumpanija fejn nistgħu nafdaw f’xulxin meta niffaċċjaw realtajiet u problemi ġodda.

 

Il-futur isejjaħ lil dawk kollha li għandhom viżjoni u jemmnu fihom infushom, dawk li jippersistu biex jirbħu kull ostaklu, dawk li jemmnu fl-ideat ta’ eċċellenza, fi sħubija u għaqda ta’ ħbiberija soda, u fid-determinazzjoni li jgħixu l-ħolma tagħhom tal-futur.

 

Biex nikkonkludi, nixtieq nirringrazzja tassew minn qalbi lil kull impjegat għall-persistenza tagħhom f’dawn iż-żminijiet iebsin. Kelli l-okkażjoni nsejħilhom eroj, u tassew hekk huma!

 

Għeżież Azzjonisti, flimkien għaddejna minn żmien tassew iebes, b’ħafna xkiel u tfixkil kawżat mill-pandemija tal-COVID li sfidaw il-mod kif naħdmu. Iżda aħna fiduċjużi li l-esperjenza li gwadanjajna ser taħdem għall-vantaġġ tagħna fil-futur.

 

Nittamaw li issa nħarsu ‘l quddiem biex nerġgħu naqbdu triqitna għal tkabbir u għal darb’oħra nilħqu profittabiltà biex b’hekk ikun possibbli li nħabbru dividendi regolarment. Għalhekk nixtieq nesprimi l-apprezzament ġenwin tiegħi lil kollha kemm intom għat-twemmin fil-Kumpanija waqt li baħħarna flimkien qalb ibħra mqallba, biex noħorġu b’saħħitna aktar minn qatt qabel. Ta’ dan nirringrazzjakom.

 

Iffirmat minn Alfred Pisani (Chairman Eżekuttiv) fl-20 ta’ April 2022.

 

 

Go back to contents

 

 

CEO’s Report

Dear Shareholders,

 

I write this report a few months into 2022 from a position of optimism. All our hotel and catering operations are up and running and the outlook for the year remains positive and on track. We are rebuilding our revenues, stabilising our manpower, and working hard at re-engaging on the core financial, human and customer-facing strategies that underpin our business as real estate and hotel investors, operators and developers. We are also proceeding apace with our expansion into new projects and territories. We are indeed exiting the pandemic as a stronger, wiser and larger organisation.

 

On the other hand, this report is intended to provide you, our shareholders, with a narrative on the performance for the financial year 2021. Our Chairman has reported extensively on our Group’s policies and highlights in his statement earlier in this report. I will not repeat but instead focus on providing some further colour on our position across various aspects of the IHI Group.

 

Firstly, let us review a summary of our financial results.

 

Revenue in 2021 totalled €129.3 million, which is just under half of our revenue in 2019, itself a record year. This is almost exactly as we had forecast at the start of the year despite so many unknowns. We do not profess to have had any insights into the year ahead when we started 2021, any more than anyone in our sector globally, but setting a target to achieve 50% of our 2019 revenues did provide a heightened focus in the business which we can report has been achieved.

 

More importantly, we set ourselves a target to achieve a Group operating results before depreciation and fair value higher than our overall interest costs. This we have achieved too, by retaining in full the strong disciplines and cuts on all our costs, including payroll, by far our largest single operating cost. Far-reaching cuts made in 2020 were carried into 2021, with much sacrifice and support from our colleagues across the Company, and for which we must express our profound gratitude and recognition. This led us to operating results before depreciation and fair value position of €26.5 million gain in 2021, versus operating results before depreciation and fair value loss of just under €4 million in 2020, a €30 million turnaround.

 

Audit

Audit

Audit

2019

2020

2021

€ '000

€ '000

€ '000

Owned Hotels Revenue

219,404

63,197

102,997

Rental Income

13,694

12,520

10,250

Catering Income

25,081

8,468

10,121

Fee Income from third parties

10,107

7,724

5,898

Turnover

268,286

91,909

129,266

Operating results before depreciation and fair value gains/(losses)

69,790

-3,807

26,528

26.01%

-4.14%

20.52%

Adjusted operating results before depreciation and fair value gains/(losses) *

60,290

-3,173

22,657

Net profit/Loss before Tax

13,912

-90,362

-36,751

Tax

-8,793

14,713

9,256

Net profit/Loss after tax

5,119

-75,649

-27,495

 

Adjusted operating results before depreciation and fair value gains/(losses) includes consolidated operating results before depreciation and fair value gains/(losses) plus our share of associates and joint ventures less our non-controlling interest in NLI, the company owning the London hotel. The cost items below our operating results before depreciation and fair value include principally non-cash items such as revaluations, exchange rate movements and depreciation.

 

Operating Results

 

Our hotel operations in Malta and London fared among the best in terms of speed to recovery.

 

The Corinthia in London ended the year with a Gross Operating Profit of €18.5 million, a remarkable turnaround reflecting the earlier easing of restrictions in the United Kingdom and the reputation enjoyed by our Brand with the local British market, the largest source of business for the hotel. In London, during 2021, we also closed on the sale of the Penthouse at the Corinthia Residences, a stand-alone building adjoining the hotel, for a figure in excess of £30 million. As with the rest of the residences sold in years prior, we remain the freeholders and provide concierge, security and other services to their occupants.

 

In Malta, our three owned hotels in the St George’s Peninsula, delivered a collective Gross Operating Profit of just under €8 million, a significant achievement based on an ability to share costs and opportunities across the three hotels. Our other two hotels on the island, the Radisson Golden Sands and the Corinthia Palace delivered a further €3 million in aggregate Gross Operating Profit.

 

The rest of the owned portfolio in Prague, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Tripoli and Lisbon made up the remaining contribution to the total Gross Operating Profit registered in all our hotels of €45 million, augmented by further income of €10 million from rents of shops and offices in our commercial centres in Tripoli and St Petersburg. One should note that most of these latter hotels operated solely on the basis of their local markets, given international travel restrictions. This was especially the case in St Petersburg where all our customers in 2021 were almost exclusively from inside the Russian Federation, a situation that is expected to continue well into 2022 given severely curtailed flight schedules and international sanctions on Russia. On the other hand, on a purely factual basis, current demand and bookings into this hotel remain at the same pace as was prevailing in 2021.

 

All the above reflects surpluses from operations leading to the consolidated operating results before depreciation and fair value, whilst the Net Loss reported above also takes into consideration property revaluations, depreciation, interest and tax. Operating results are thus encouraging and a base on which we are building up to a recovery of our 2019 performance in the shortest possible timeframe.

 

Funding

 

On the funding front, we successfully launched a ten-year €80 million Bond on the Malta Stock Exchange carrying a coupon of 3.65% p.a. As with all Bonds issued by the Company since our launch in April 2000, this was fully subscribed. This is a sure sign of the strength of our reputation, itself built on a sound business model and decades of success. Part of the Bond has gone to fully repay a maturing Bond of €20 million, the rest will be deployed on development projects in various countries.

 

Separately, throughout the year, and as reported by the Chairman on several occasions, we have continued to explore various opportunities to attract new capital into our business. Talks proceeded with international investors and we are confident to be able to report significant developments on this front in the near term.

 

Manning & Senior team

 

As we shine a spotlight on 2021, we cannot but focus on our efforts in the latter part of the year to rebuild our operations as travel restrictions eased across the world. Overall manning measured in full-time equivalents and casual labour across the Group, in both owned and managed businesses, had plummeted from a high of 4,642 in February 2020 to a low of 2,367 midway in 2021 in consequence of deep cuts, redundancies and voluntary relocations back to home countries of many of our expatriate colleagues. We are now up to almost 3,000 in full time equivalent numbers, a sure sign of a gradual recovery in our hotel operations across several countries. It is our intention now to continue to calibrate our manning relative to rising demand for our hotels, albeit retaining a tight leash on recruitment as we intend to maintain as many savings as we can in our day-to-day operations without impinging on the quality of our service delivery. This is a challenge for all our General Managers which is being embraced across the Group.

 

Our principal subsidiary Corinthia Hotels Limited [CHL] is likewise gearing up. This company is responsible for the marketing and management of all our hotels, and others owned by 3 rd parties. It is also the owner of our Corinthia Brand and pursuing growth opportunities to develop, manage or lease Corinthia hotels worldwide, indeed, as we shall see later, we are currently engaged on six new hotel openings under development, some owned by us, others owned by 3 rd parties. Our strategy late into 2021 and onto 2022 has been to re-engage all our senior team in CHL. In recent months, we have added new senior recruits hailing from some of the world’s leading hospitality companies in the following areas:

 

·         A Chief Operating Officer

·         A Head of Restaurants & Bars

·         A Head of HR Operations

·         A Head of Marketing

·         A Head of Global PR

·         A Head of Revenue Management

·         A Head of Fire, Life, Health, Security & Safety

 

The above seasoned executives, based in either of Corinthia Hotel’s corporate offices in Malta or London, now join the ranks of several other CHL Chief Officers and Heads who remained with the Company throughout the pandemic, and who now collectively constitute a full complement for the organisation’s senior team.

 

At a Group level, under direction of the Chairman, we have appointed a Chief Culture Officer to devise and implement strategies intended to retain our strong internal culture and spirit as we grow into new territories and take on hundreds of new colleagues worldwide. The Chairman has dwelt extensively on this sentiment in his statement earlier in this annual report. We, as management, strongly support this family-inspired culture prevailing in the organisation. This is fundamental to our success. We act and behave as members of the Corinthia family, and this gives us the strength and wisdom to weather any storm and above all, grow the Company across the globe whilst staying true to the core values that are the foundation of all that we do, be it in our hotels’ service, or be it in our entrepreneurial approach to conducting business in several sectors worldwide.

 

At a corporate level, we are also mindful of our status as a leading publicly traded company in Malta. Financial regulation and oversight on public companies has increased significantly in recent years and likewise, we have bolstered our internal governance structures with new recruits in the fields of law, company secretarial reporting and internal audit , working with our senior team colleagues charged with these responsibilities.

 

New Business

 

With one eye on steadying our ship throughout the pandemic, we remained focused elsewhere on growth. IHI is involved in six hotel projects, either as an investor, or through CHL and other subsidiaries, as an operator or development manager.

 

In Rome, Corinthia Developments International Limited [CDI] had earlier entered into an agreement with the Reuben Brothers of the UK, who acquired the former Bank of Italy HQ and are now working with us to convert this property into a 60-key luxury hotel. CDI has been actively driving the design development and planning of the hotel, as well as acting as the development and project manager on site. Our other subsidiary CHL will lease this hotel under a separate agreement once works are completed and we will launch the property as a Corinthia in 2023. Internal strip out, asbestos removal and demolitions are now completed. A main contractor is engaged and work has started to redevelop, and in some areas rebuild, all internal areas. We are currently recruiting the team who will take over the management of the hotel once we launch next year.

 

In New York, CHL has entered into another agreement with the Reuben Brothers, owners of hotel formerly trading as The Surrey on the prestigious Upper East Side. The property is undergoing a total renovation to be relaunched as a luxury hotel. CHL is providing technical services during the design and development phase and will eventually manage the property as a member of the Corinthia portfolio. Strip out works have been ongoing and design development is nearing completion.

 

In Brussels, IHI led the acquisition of the former Grand Hotel Astoria via our company NLI Holdings, which also owns the Corinthia Hotel & Residences in London. This was a grand albeit derelict hotel, originating from 1909, and protected by the local heritage authorities in parts. We have since carefully demolished all non-historic, dangerous structures and areas in close collaboration with the local authorities and agreed on a methodology for the rebuilding of the property and renovation of all historic areas of the ground floor and the imposing, listed façade. A main contractor is on site and the entire super structure will be up by the end of 2022. An opening as the Corinthia Brussels is targeted for April 2024. Our subsidiary company QP is responsible for project management, whilst the corporate resources of IHI, CHL and CDI are collectively providing services as owner’s representatives and operators, handling all matters of financing, contracting, oversight, value engineering and design signoffs.

 

In Doha, CHL had entered into various agreements with the United Development Corporation of Qatar, owners and developers of the Pearl, an offshore collection of reclaimed islands on which a spectacular city comprising commercial, yachting, hospitality, social and residential developments are now largely complete and occupied, save for one island, the Gewan, on which UDC wishes to create a luxury destination focused on hospitality and residential offerings. CHL has been entrusted to guide the design development and eventually manage a series of properties on Gewan, including a Corinthia Hotel, Golf Club, Beach Club, Yacht Club, residential villas for sale and now, on the main island of the Pearl, a serviced residential tower to be built comprising 150 units of varying sizes for sale and lease. CHL has a team on the ground including a General Manager and is in the immediate term focusing on the Yacht Club, which will open its doors later in 2022. Throughout the year under review, CHL also supported and brokered deals to bring international brands to the development including Solymar beach club of Mykonos, Kai restaurant of Mayfair, London, and the Monaco Yacht Club with who a marketing association is under consideration.

 

In Bucharest, CHL has a management agreement to operate a hotel under development in the historic Grand Hotel du Boulevard, owned by a local entrepreneur. Works on the internal redecoration of the property are ongoing and a sample suite completed for review and snagging. This 30-key all-suite hotel will open in 2023 and will undoubtedly make its mark as the top luxury hotel in Romania.

 

In Malta, IHI owns the 85,000m 2 land plot formerly housing the Ħ al Ferh Holiday Village, long since derelict and privatised. Our plans here have been publicly launched in 2021, featuring a 162-room luxury Corinthia resort and 25 residential villas to be serviced by the hotel. In 2021, the Malta Parliament ratified a change of the zoning law, versus an agreed incremental payment of €10.5 million over and above what was originally paid for the land when privatised. This change permits IHI to develop a select number of luxury villas in years ahead. A full planning application has been submitted which clearly indicates the luxurious standard to which we intend to develop this property, not rising more than two floors in parts, and occupying solely 16% of the actual land, the rest being used for landscaping and outdoor activities. A UK-based designer, Goddard Littlefair, has been engaged, as well as WATG from the UK too, to handle all landscaping design. Works will commence immediately once permits are in hand expected for later in 2022.

 

I must of course also report on our investment in Moscow where 2021 was a year in which works proceeded on the design of the Corinthia Hotel & Residences development on the city’s main boulevard. Permits were secured, demolitions of non-historic structures proceeded, and general site preparation works commenced, mostly related to foundations and under-pinning of neighbouring properties. IHI has a 10% share in this project and will eventually also manage the 50-key boutique luxury hotel and provide branding and service to the 100 residential apartments planned for the site. In 2021, discussions proceeded by this company with funding banks, authorities and contractors with a view to commencing works later in 2022. The current situation in Russia means we will report back later in the year when a way forward may become clearer. As we have reported via company announcements, our total investment in the project is $6 million and thus marginal to our overall balance sheet considerations.

 

Finally, I wish to report on what was our project in Dubai, where CHL had a management agreement to eventually operate a property under development on the city state’s beachfront. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced a situation onto the developers to sell their property midway through the project to a new company that itself already operates hotels in-house and thus wished to terminate our operating arrangements. In full cooperation with the owners, CHL agreed to sell out of its position for $5 million and is now seeking new opportunities in Dubai.

 

Other Business

 

I wish to report on some other fronts in the IHI Group which were taken forward in 2021.

 

In agreement with the Board, we have taken steps to establish a Brand occupying the 4-star space. We own directly or manage for others, several hotels, not branded as five-star luxury Corinthia, for which we wish to secure a long-term in-house marketing and branding strategy. Currently, we operate these hotels under their own independent name or under franchise from other brands such as Radisson and Ramada Plaza. Work has started to identify a team and international advisory agencies to select a name and draw up property and operating standards, a marketing set-up and a distribution network. Our aim is to launch this brand by 2023. We are already also in discussions with partners, and indeed agreed with one of our shareholders LAFICO, to operate any hotels they may own worldwide which require such services under this new brand. For sure, the four-star sector is a larger, albeit more competitive market worldwide than the luxury hotel space occupied by the Corinthia brand, and we look forward to reporting growth on this front in the months and years ahead.

 

I am also happy to report on our c. 13% shareholding in the Global Hotel Alliance, a company whose other shareholders are Kempinski Hotels, Minor Group [owners of Anantara and NH Hotels among others], Pan Pacific Hotels and Oracle. GHA has last year, in December, successfully launched our updated global loyalty programme, with almost 10 million members, and now marketed as Discovery 2.0. The launch follows a period of investment in research, technology and marketing. The loyalty programme is available to customers of all shareholding brands, including Corinthia, as well as some 30 other international hotel brands worldwide who are members of the alliance, meaning customers of each brand can benefit from recognition and rewards when staying at hotels owned by other brands in the alliance. During the year under review, we also worked steadily at expanding the scope of the business to capture international event and concierge services, and in so doing have successfully invited a new shareholder into the business specialising in this sector. The new shareholder will join as a 10% partner by way of a capital increase at a premium to the valuation paid when Corinthia joined the shareholding some years back. Finally, I am pleased to report that Corinthia is currently occupying the chairmanship of the main owning board of the alliance.

 

The IHI Group is also intending to significantly grow our project management and design services company QP, the largest such company in Malta. QP supports IHI and our subsidiaries, CDI and CHL, in all our projects locally and internationally - and is now gearing to further expand its international footprint, including in neighbouring countries such as Libya where we believe tremendous opportunities lie ahead. QP had a successful year in 2021. Its CEO Reuben Xuereb has continued to re-energise and grow the company and attract talent across all design and development disciplines.

 

Finally, we will also be focusing on our industrial and contract catering business, which by far was the hardest hit by restrictions imposed during the pandemic. This business is currently mostly focused on event catering in Malta but will be expanded to capture contract catering opportunities in the oil and gas sectors in countries such as Algeria and Libya.

 

Conclusion

 

I wish to end this statement by thanking our Chairman Alfred Pisani, and the main board of directors for their continued leadership, support and direction. I also wish to thank my immediate management team, and the thousands of colleagues across the Group at all levels. Ours is a business that rests on property assets on one leg, but equally, on human resources as the energy that creates wonderful experiences in our hotels, without which our properties are soulless, and devoid of value. Thank you all, and especially to Joseph Fenech, who was co-CEO with me for several years and since 2021 has continued to add tremendous value to the Group in his position as a Board Member.

    

Signed by Simon Naudi (Chief Executive Officer) on 20 April 2022.

 

 

 

 

DEVELOPMENTS

 

ROME