Starwood Strengthens Presence in Malaysia

Zacks

Most hoteliers are focusing on bolstering their portfolio in the emerging markets. Recently, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT) inked an agreement with IOI Properties Group — a Malaysian hotel development firm — to manage Four Points by Sheraton Puchong and Le Méridien Putrajaya to be opened in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

The 249-room Four Points by Sheraton Puchong is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2014. Upon completion, Four Points by Sheraton Puchong will be the fifth property under the brand in Malaysia, following the success of the brand in Langkawi, Sandakan, Kuching and the most-recent Penang. The hotel will be located in the heart of Puchong’s developing business district, Puchong Financial Corporate Centre (:PFCC) at Bandar Puteri Puchong. Puchong is a major town in the Petaling district of Selangor and is situated close to the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. The hotel featuring meeting space, swimming pool, two food and beverage venues and a fitness centre will cater to both business and leisure travelers.

Le Méridien Putrajaya, on the other hand, will be located in Malaysia’s federal administrative capital, Putrajaya. Le Méridien Putrajaya will be the brand’s third hotel in Malaysia joining Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur and Le Méridien Kota Kinabalu. The property will be near the city’s commercial and retail areas, including the IOI City Mall, slated to open late this year. The 350-room hotel will have restaurants, cafés, fitness centre, spa facilities, a state-of-the-art meeting and event space and a swimming pool.

Starwood currently operates 12 hotels in Malaysia. Additionally, Starwood’s Malaysian pipeline includes — The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, W Kuala Lumpur, Sheraton Petaling Jaya Hotel, Sheraton Desaru Hotel and Four Points by Sheraton Kota Kinabalu.

Starwood’s decision to expand its Malaysian presence was backed by the increasing popularity of the country as a tourist spot. In fact, Malaysia is one of the world’s most traveled destinations. With the scheduled hotel openings, Starwood will be able to tap in on the country’s heightened hotel demand.

Starwood currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the same industry include Wyndham Worldwide Corp. (WYN), Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (HLT) and Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp. (VAC). All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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