Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO) Plc has announced the acquisition of a 51 percent majority stake in Capital Hotels Plc (CHP), the owners of the iconic Sheraton Hotel Abuja.
In a statement issued by the spokesman of NIPCO Plc, Lawal Taofeek, NIPCO acquired the Sheraton hotel through its fully-owned subsidiary, 22 Hospitality Ltd.
According to Aminu Abdulkadir, a Group Executive Director of NIPCO Plc, this strategic drive is also aimed at making the hotel carve a niche for itself by becoming a leading hospitality firm offering premium services to customers, in accordance with global standards.
“The hotel is currently managed by Starwood/Marriott under various system license agreements with CHP. In the past, Starwood had acknowledged in various reports that the hotel was in a very degraded state and will require hard renovations to make it brand compliant,” the statement explained.
It added, “However, despite the hotel’s poor condition and non-compliance with its brand standards, Marriot/Starwood has continued to manage the Sheraton Abuja Hotel, which is currently in a dilapidated and deplorable state”.
The statement added that the new investors are keen to turn around the fortunes of the hotel through the injection of substantial new capital under certain preconditions.
As part of the new investors’ commitment to manpower development in the hospitality industry, the statement said, plans are in the pipeline to establish a ‘Hospitality Academy’ in Nigeria in collaboration with the federal government to train Nigerian youths in various hospitality skill sets.
“This initiative is borne out of the current global shortage of trained and experienced hospitality manpower. Indeed, statistics showed that there are currently more than one million job vacancies in housekeeping, waiters, chefs, security, IT and maintenance of the hospitality industry,” the statement added.
The statement also clarified how CHP Hospitality Academy will not only train Nigerians for local employment but will also equip them with the requisite expertise to seek overseas placements to fill the large volume of vacancies in other parts of the world, thereby becoming a veritable recourse in the quest to reduce unemployment in Nigeria.
In 2017, NIPCO took over the 60 per cent majority equity stake of ExxonMobil Oil Corporation in Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc. The deal, worth N90 billion at 2017 exchange rate, was one of the biggest transactions in the downstream sector in recent years.