India's ITC eyeing hotel partnerships

ITC-LimitedIndian diversified firm ITC Ltd was not interested in a takeover of hotel chains EIH (East Indian Hotels) Ltd and Hotel Leela but was expecting minority partnerships in some hotel projects.

ITC has a stake of 14.98% in EIH, which runs the Oberoi and Trident chain of hotels, and has a 3.72% stake in Hotel Leela through its investment unit Russel Credit.

Mr. Y. C. Deveshwar announced at annual stockholders meeting of ITC that it could be a strategic partnership which could have a mutual branding exercise and marketing under a common umbrella.

ITC is India's top cigarette manufacturer in which British American Tobacco holds 31.7% stake. It also has interests in hotels, consumer goods and clothes and agri- business.

The company accounted a 17.4% hike in net profit for the first quarter, beating market estimates. Hotel incomes sank during this quarter as a worldwide economic crisis compacted corporate and leisure travel.

The company plans to put around $2 billion on its hotels business by the next 5 years.

Mr. Deveshwar told that ITC is also in talks with 3 state governments to establish a paper plant with a capacity of around half a million tonnes at an approximated price of Rs 40-50 billion.

He also added that they developed sustainable paper-making capabilities. To scale up, ITC is designing a new project of significant size up to half a million tonnes.

ITC was also in talks with state governments in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for 2,000 acres of land for the project.

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