Kuwait's Sheikh Mubarak eyes expansion in UK, German hotel markets after Brexit

Published: 9 September 2019 - 1 p.m.
By: Shane McGinley
Kuwait’s Sheikh Mubarak Al Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al Sabah is planning to expand into the mid-market hotel sector in the United Kingdom and Germany, but once there is clarity over the Brexit negotiations for the UK to leave the European Union, he told Arabian Business in an interview.

“I would like to enter the midscale market in Europe now in a big way. I am very keen to expand into Europe, especially the UK and Germany - the two main markets for midscale hotels,” the founder and chairman of Action Hotels, which is headquartered in Dubai.

“The UK is an interesting market. I would like to look at that market more but we don’t have any good local knowledge there,” he said, adding that before he looks at potential acquisition targets he wanted to see how the Brexit negotiations played out.

According to its website, Action Hotels has 13 hotels across the Middle East and Australia and two in the pipeline. Its current operating partners are Accor Hotels, InterContinental Hotels Group and Louvre Hotels Group.

Good fit
Sheikh Mubarak is credited with introducing the mid-market hotel segment to the Gulf and he said he believed Germany would be a good fit as part of the company’s international expansion.

“Germany is a stable economy. The culture of midscale is very big there, the Germans like value for money,” he said.

The UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016 and the deadline to do so has been set as October 31, 2019, having already been extended twice.

New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is determined to pull the UK out of the EU by the end of October, if it means a no-deal Brexit, but he is facing tough opposition from rebels within his party and the wider British parliament.

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