Exactly six years after it acquired Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, now known as 11plc, an integrated energy solutions provider, NIPCO Plc, has acquired the Abuja Sheraton Hotel in a conscious move to drive its mission to diversify into the hospitality industry.
In this latest landmark deal, 22 Hospitality Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NIPCO Plc, acquired a majority stake in Capital Hotels Plc (CHP), owners of Abuja Sheraton Hotel .
NIPCO Plc is a key downstream operator in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry with footprints across the country.
A statement issued yesterday by the spokesman of NIPCO Plc, Alhaji Lawal Taofeek, quoted the Group Executive Director of the company, Alhaji Aminu Abdulkadir, as saying that the new investors are desirous of restoring the hotel to its former glory of being the first-choice luxury hotel in Abuja.
According to Aminu, 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. “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 explained.
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.
According to the statement, the 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.