Tan Wants to Build Luxury Hotel in Iceland

Vala Hafstað

The future owner of Icelandair Hotels, Vincent Tan, believes that the Icelandic hotel market has great opportunities for connecting Iceland and Asia. He’d like to build a luxury hotel in Iceland, Morgunblaðið reports.

There is every indication that Berjaya Property Ireland Limited (BPIL) will become a 75 percent stakeholder in Icelandair Hotels on January 1. An agreement signed implies that BPIL will acquire full ownership of the hotel chain within three years.

Vincent Tan, one of Malaysia’s wealthiest individuals, is the founder of the investment firm Berjaya Corporation, the parent company of BPIL.  “There are great opportunities here, in the long run,” he tells Morgunblaðið. “We paid a high price for these properties, or close to 11 times the EBITDA, but I’m convinced there are great opportunities in this, and that is thanks to the country, Iceland, which has so much to offer.”

Fréttablaðið reports the price paid for the 75 percent stake in Icelandair Hotels and for its assets will be USD 53.6 million. The purchase is contingent upon the hotel chain’s debts being refinanced with new loans, amounting to 64 to 72 million USD. 

In an interview with Morgunblaðið, Tan points out the importance of attracting wealthy tourists to the country and states that there must be more options for tourists on offer.

“I believe there is room in the market for at real luxury hotel, and we’re looking into the possibility of adding such a property to the assets of Icelandair Hotels,” he states. When asked whether the company’s lot at Geirsgata 11, Reykjavík, is a potential location for such a hotel, he answers that time will tell. “It depends on city authorities and the government whether or not a hotel will rise there, but the location is very good and offers many opportunities.”

Tan believes that if Icelandair has the will to do so, there would be opportunity in offering direct flights between Iceland and Asia.  He doesn’t rule out investments in Iceland outside the hotel business.

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