MANILA MIDTOWN HOTEL TO STOP OPERATIONS

Manila, May 1, 2003 -- The 581-room Manila Midtown Hotel, a landmark in the Ermita tourist area, will permanently close down by the end of this month due to its continued poor business performance.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Robinsons Land Corp., (RLC) assistant corporate secretary Rosalinda Rivera said the company's board has "authorized the cessation of hotel operations of Manila Midtown Hotel effective May 31, 2003."

Manila Midtown, which opened in 1976, is one of the hotel units of the Gokongwei-owned RLC. The others are Manila Galleria Suites in Mandaluyong, Cebu Midtown Hotel in Cebu City and Robinsons Apartelle along EDSA.

Industry sources said the closure of Manila Midtown came on the heels of sustained losses owing to low occupancy rates, as the country's tourism industry continues to suffer from the poor flow of foreign and local tourists.

In the fiscal year ending September 1999, Manila Midtown averaged 54 percent occupancy rate; in 2000, it went down to 51 percent; and in 2001, it improved to 62 percent. Except for the apartelle, the rest of RLC's hotels had occupancy rates ranging from 62 percent to 79 percent during the same period.

There were no other details provided in the disclosure but the same industry sources said RLC has not yet firmed up future plans for the property which is part of a seven hectare commercial shopping complex that includes the Robinsons Place mall.

"Most probably, it will be converted into a business/residential complex," sources said, adding that RLC has not indicated plans to sell the hotel structure and its operations.

The hotels division contributes about 22 percent to RLC's total revenues which remains anchored on the commercial centers and high-rise office/condominium buildings. In the fiscal year ending Septempber 2001, RLC hotels brought in P752 million in revenues, a slight improvement from P746 million the previous year but much lower than the P805 million and P894 million revenues in 2000 and 1999, respectively. (By Conrado M. Diaz Jr., Star)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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