NRMA eyes larger interest in Travelodge hotels

The group owns three Travelodges in the Sydney central business district
The group owns three Travelodges in the Sydney central business district

Motoring organisation NRMA could be a major beneficiary of Mirvac’s exit from the Tucker Box Hotel Group portfolio which controls 11 Travelodge hotels around the country worth more than $600 million.

The pair hold equal stakes in the unlisted venture that owns the hotels with about 2000 rooms in total, but NRMA, which has been aggressively expanding into caravan parks, is now negotiating to take full control.

The group owns three Travelodges in the Sydney central business district as well as hotels in the Sydney suburbs of Manly, Macquarie Park, Bankstown and Blacktown. The portfolio is also represented in Newcastle, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

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The Mirvac and NRMA 50/50 joint venture last year sold the 74-room Travelodge in Rockhampton to Chinese investors for about $7 million. The properties are leased to Value Lodging, a subsidiary of Toga Far East Hotels.

Mirvac says it is in “advanced discussions” for the sale of the Tucker Box Hotel Group, which is expected to complete in this quarter at “approximately book value”.

Mirvac says this is “no certainty” the talks will result in a transaction, which would be one of the largest hotel deals of this year. NRMA declined to comment.

The Tucker Box Hotel Group was set up in March 2005 and focuses on the limited-service hotel market in Australia.

Mirvac had the properties in the venture valued at $614 million when it had 12 hotels with 2027 rooms before selling the Rockhampton property last year.

NRMA has a large tourism portfolio and says in its last annual report that it is shifting funds from the investment portfolio into operating businesses to deliver greater benefits to members.

As part of this, the NRMA sold its interest in a Melbourne Docklands property to reinvest in its transport and tourism businesses.

“The focus for the portfolio in 2019 remains to protect capital, rebalance towards long-term total returns, and provide liquidity. Management will continue to identify new transport and tourism operating businesses,” the company says.

– with Lisa Allen

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