Saudi Arabia’s PIF buys 49 per cent of Rocco Forte Hotels

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has bought a 49 per cent stake in luxury hotel group Rocco Forte Hotels.

As part of the deal – which values Rocco Forte’s 14 hotels at £1.2 billion - Italian sovereign wealth fund CDP Equity will sell its entire 23 per cent stake. Sir Rocco Forte will remain executive chair, alongside his sister Olga Polizzi, who will continue as deputy chair.

PIF’s investment will include an element of primary equity which will accelerate Rocco Forte’s expansion in both existing and new global markets such as in Italy, the Middle East and the US. Over the next five years, the PIF will invest tens of millions of pounds into the luxury hotel group to double the size of Rocco Forte’s hotel portfolio over the next five years. Rocco Forte Hotels plans to open three new hotels in 2024 and 2025, including The Carlton Hotel in Milan.

Why it matters

PIF’s sizable investment into Rocco Forte could significantly accelerate the hotel group’s expansion, especially in the Middle East. Additionally, this is a progression of the Saudi Arabia PIF’s strategy to boost its presence in the hospitality sector and expand its global investment footprint, particularly in the European market. Just this year, the Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund has inked a slew of hotel development deals with companies including Radisson, Minor Hotels and Hyatt.

What they said

Sir Rocco Forte, executive chair of Rocco Forte Hotels said: “PIF is an excellent partner for us going forward. We have established an extremely good relationship during the course of our negotiations. They share the same vision for the brand and the future strategy of the group with the same ambition to take a long-term view.

“We thank CDPEI for having shared the past fruitful eight years during which we both successfully accomplished the mission we shared when we started the journey, having significantly enhanced the value of the company and increased the group’s presence in Italy and across Europe.”

Turqi Al Nowaiser, deputy governor and head of International Investments Division at PIF added: “Our investment in Rocco Forte Hotels reflects PIF’s confidence in both the commercial opportunity and strength of the international hospitality and tourism industries that have shown remarkable resilience in recent years. As active long-term investors, PIF will continue to invest strategically in promising sectors to achieve sustainable returns globally.”