Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (M&C) was founded in 1989, on the vision of its Chairman, Mr Kwek Leng Beng, who leads Singapore’s Hong Leong Group and Singapore-listed global real estate company City Developments (CDL).1989
Formed as a Hong Leong subsidiary, CDL Hotels International acquires its first 6 Asian hotels.
The company buys the 548-room Millennium Gloucester Hotel London Kensington and takes control of a 13-hotel chain in New Zealand.
CDL enters the US market, acquiring the Millennium Hilton and the Millennium Broadway Hotel New York.
CDL acquires Copthorne Hotels from Aer Lingus for £219 million, and launches its new global hotel brand, Millennium Hotels And Resorts. Around this time, the Group becomes New Zealand’s largest hotel owner, with 21 hotels, and acquires a controlling stake in the Plaza Hotel in New York (the stake was sold in a landmark transaction in 2004).
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc (M&C) floats on the London Stock Exchange. During the same year, it acquires the Millennium Hotel London Mayfair from InterContinental, as well as hotels in France and Germany.
M&C is voted “Best UK Hotel Group of the Year” at the Executive Travel Hotel Awards.
Having made further hotel acquisitions in New Zealand and Asia, CDL’s Asian and Australasian hotels are acquired by M&C, transforming it into a global hotel owner/operator. In the same year, M&C acquires the 5-star Seoul Hilton and the Regal hotel chain in the US.
M&C opens its first management contract in the UK, the Millennium Madejski Hotel Reading. In the same year, M&C enters into a global strategic marketing alliance agreement with one of Germany’s largest and most prestigious hotel companies, Maritim Hotels.
M&C begins its expansion into the Middle East, with several management contracts in the United Arab Emirates.
M&C restructures its Singapore assets via the initial public offering of CDL Hospitality Trusts (CDLHT), a ground-breaking Singaporean hospitality real estate investment trust. The Group sells and leases back its interests in the Orchard Hotel, M Hotel, Copthorne King’s Hotel, and Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. The Group also purchases 39% of CDLHT (diluted in 2010 to 35%). In the same year, the Group makes its first move into China, opening the Grand Millennium Shanghai Hongqiao under management contract.
The Group steps up its activities in China, with the establishment of First Sponsor Capital Limited – a 50/50 joint venture to develop mixed use property (including hotels) in some of China’s second tier cities.
Global financial markets are severely impacted by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, leading to a swift and deep recession, particularly affecting revenues in New York and Singapore. Despite the loss of revenue, the Group remains profitable throughout the ensuing turmoil, reflecting its robust owner/operator business model and low levels of net debt after the CDLHT transaction and sale of the Plaza Hotel in 2004.
The group successfully launches its new brand, Studio M, in Singapore. The hotel becomes EBITDA-positive within three months of launch, which is unusual for a new hotel. In the same year, the Group strengthens its commitment to China, acquiring a 70% majority stake in the award-winning Grand Millennium Beijing.
The Group completes two significant asset management transactions – selling and leasing back Studio M to CDLHT and selling a parcel of land adjacent to the Grand Millennium Hotel Kuala Lumpur. It closes the Copthorne Orchid Hotel in Singapore, to develop the site into condominiums, further demonstrating the flexibility of its owner/operator strategy. In the same year, M&C acquires a land site in Tokyo’s prestigious Ginza district and announces it will build its first ever hotel in the Japanese capital.
The Group announces record revenues and profits for the year ending December 31, 2011, reflecting robust operating performance, as well as gains from its asset management activities.
The Group announces its delisting from the London Stock Exchange in October following a privatisation exercise by its parent company, CDL.