PickAlbatros Hotels secures US$23m from Vantage Capital for renovation plans

AFRICA – PickAlbatros Hotels, an international group based in Morocco, has secured US$23 million mezzanine debt funding from Vantage Capital, Africa’s largest mezzanine fund manager.

The proceeds will be used to fund working capital and renovation work on several recently-acquired hotels.

PickAlbatros is a leading hotel owner and operator in Egypt, with a portfolio of 15 operating hotels and close to 10,000 rooms across the Red Sea resort towns of Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, Sahl Hasheesh and Marsa Alam. It also operates two hotels in Morocco.

The transaction represents Vantage Capital’s 31st investment across three generations of mezzanine funds, with its portfolio now spread across eleven countries in Africa.

“The transaction with PickAlbatros marks our inaugural investment into Egypt,” Warren van der Merwe, Managing Partner at Vantage Capital, said.

“With a population in excess of 100 million and an economy delivering robust growth, it is a country with significant potential and a valuable addition to our investment map. Tourism is a key sector within the economy and we are proud to back one of the leading local hospitality players.”

“The transaction with PickAlbatros marks our inaugural investment into Egypt.”

Warren van der Merwe – Managing Partner, Vantage Capital

PickAlbatros represents Vantage’s third investment in the tourism sector after supporting the construction of new hotels in Uganda (141 beds) and Namibia (181 beds) by partnering with local hoteliers in those markets.

The Vantage team believe in the long-term growth potential of tourism in Africa, which constitutes only 5% of the global tourism market today.

“While Covid-19 has created significant disruption to the global hospitality sector over the past year, we recognise that the longer-term growth potential for PickAlbatros Hotels remains firmly intact,” David Kornik, Partner at Vantage Capital, said.

“The resilient performance delivered by the hotel group in recent months, despite widespread travel restrictions across its core European market, highlights the appeal of its high-quality, value-for-money offering across a broad range of markets.

“As vaccines become widely distributed, we expect international beach tourism to recover strongly and Egypt’s Red Sea is well-positioned to be an outsized benefactor over the years to come.”

Since the first PickAlbatros hotel opened its doors in Hurghada in 1992, Mr Kamel Abu Ali, the owner and CEO of PickAlbatros, has relentlessly pursued his vision of building a high-quality hospitality portfolio across the Red Sea.

Thanks to his significant efforts, resort towns such as Hurghada are now firmly on the map as a popular destination for European sunseekers.

“We have always taken a long-term view on the growth potential for the hospitality market in the Red Sea and we have successfully delivered on this growth strategy, consistently expanding our hotel portfolio over the past three decades,” he noted.

“Vantage shares our vision and has been willing to support our hotel group with funding that gives us the flexibility to invest in expansion and working capital as the business sees fit. They also successfully delivered on their commitment to meet very tight timelines for disbursement, and in the process showed themselves to be a highly professional firm and a trusted partner.”

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