KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 24): Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) chief executive officer (CEO) Abdul Jalil Abdul Rasheed said today the diversified group via subsidiary Berjaya Land Bhd is now the largest hotel operator in Iceland with 1,471 keys across 14 hotels in Iceland under various brands and that the group's Iceland hotels have bounced back very quickly due to Covid-19-led quarantine restrictions being removed.
Abdul Jalil said in a Twitter post today that the global hospitality sector has been challenging for the past 18 months as the industry contends with pandemic-driven movement restrictions.
"Almost zero revenue but with element of fixed cost that can't be removed.
"Whilst most of our overseas hotels suffering (the) same fate, some like Iceland have bounced back very quickly due to (Covid-19-driven) quarantine restrictions being removed," he said.
According to Berjaya Land's website and its Bursa Malaysia filings, Berjaya Corp owned, as at June 18, 2021, a combined direct and indirect stakes of 78.629% in Berjaya Land, which operates hotels in countries including Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, the UK and Iceland.
In Iceland, Berjaya Land's website indicated that the group's hotels are owned via Icelandair Hotels under which several hotel names are parked.
Icelandair Hotels' website showed that hotel names under its umbrella comprise Icelandair Hotel, Hilton, Edda, Canopy, Konsulat and Alda.
In the Twitter post, Abdul Jalil said the hotels operate under different brands and cater for various segments of the market.
"As the name suggests, hotels were acquired from Iceland's national airline Icelandair when they divested their hospitality business," he said.
Berjaya Land had initially announced its Iceland hotel venture in 2019.
In a Bursa filing on July 15, 2019, Berjaya Land said its wholly-owned Irish incorporated subsidiary Berjaya Property Ireland Ltd had on July 13, 2019 entered into a share purchase agreement with Icelandair Group hf for the acquisition of a 75% stake in Icelandair Hotels ehf for approximately US$53.63 million (about RM222.03 million) based on the currency exchange rate then.
"The proposed acquisition is in line with the Berjaya Land Group’s geographical diversification and revenue expansion. The luxury hotel segment in Iceland is expected to grow and the proposed acquisition will enable the Berjaya Land Group to enter this segment with strategically-located hotels in the heart of Iceland as well as certain hotels being operated under the Hilton brand name,” Berjaya Land said then.
On April 3, 2020, Berjaya Land said in a bourse filing that the acquisition was completed at a lower price as the seller granted the buyer a discount of US$10 million due to the temporary adverse economic effects of the Covid-19 outbreak.
At 5pm today, BCorp’s share price closed unchanged at 26 sen for a market value of about RM1.4 billion based on the group’s 5.4 billion issued shares.
Berjaya Land’s share price climbed one sen or 3.7% to 28 sen for a market capitalisation of about RM1.38 billion based on the company’s 4.92 billion issued shares.
BCorp’s website indicates that the group, which was founded by Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun, is a diversified entity with businesses including food and beverage, property investment and development, besides lottery, hotel and car dealership operations.
BCorp said its subsidiaries comprise Berjaya Land, Berjaya Sports Toto Bhd (BToto), Berjaya Food Bhd and REDtone Digital Bhd.
According to BCorp, Berjaya Land's core businesses include property investment and development, besides lottery and hotel operations, while BToto’s principal activities include Toto betting operations, manufacturing and distribution of computerised lottery and voting systems, besides property investment and development.