Israeli group buys historic Paris hotel Lutetia

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The historic Lutetia hotel in Paris, occupied by the Nazis and after liberation serving as a welcome centre for concentration camp survivors, has been purchased by the Israeli Alrov group, the owners said Saturday.

The Louvre Group, Europe's second largest hotelier after Accor, announced the sale in a statement but did not disclose the purchase price.

Back in May sources said the Alrov group was going to buy the Lutetia for 150 million euros (nearly 200 million dollars) with plans to make it a luxury hotel on the left bank of Paris, the Figaro newspaper reported.

Alrov then announced that it had already spent 10 million euros with the aim of buying the hotel which marks its 100th anniversary this year. It would be highly symbolic for an Israeli company to own the hotel where Jews who survived the death camps found support after the Allies defeated Nazi Germany in World War II.

The Alrov Group, founded in 1978, is known for its two luxury hotels in Jerusalem, The David Citadel and The Mamilla Hotel.

Last year Alrov reported revenue of 185.6 million euros with a net profit of 94 million euros.

The Louvre Hotel Group is owned by the US fund Starwood Capital, which has seen its debt grow to 1.6 billion euros and wants to get out of the luxury hotel sector. It wants to concentrate on such economic hotel brands as Kyriad and Campanile.

© 2010 AFP

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