In a move to strengthen its investments in the tourism industry, the Social Security Corporation (SSC) will soon become a stakeholder in Zara — Jordan's largest hotel investment group.
The SSC on Tuesday said that it will buy 17.5 million shares of Zara at a total cost of more than JD26 million next month.
Eid Fayez, labour minister and SSC board chairman, said the project is part of the SSC trend to invest in the tourism sector.
“The corporation has established the National Company for Tourism Business.
“But after one year of operation, the venture did not prove a real success, as its projects were not up to the task,” Fayez told the Jordan Times.
He explained that the partnership with a professional company, such as Zara, is a strategic option.
“Accepting Zara's offer at a fixed price of JD1.5 per share, will be the window through which we can get the necessary know-how in the tourism business.
“The timing of the offer was just right since the infrastructure for Zara's projects has already been established,” added the minister, who noted that the SSC has a liquidity of JD1billion.
Established in 1994, the group, owns and manages a chain of five-star hotels including the Amman-based Grand Hyatt and Hotel Inter.Continental-Jordan, as well as three Movenpick hotels in Petra, the Dead Sea area, and Aqaba.
Zara commanded 52 percent of profits made by all hotels in the Kingdom during the first eight months of this year.
Zara, which is owned by Arab investors — 45 percent, foreign investors — 5 percent and Jordanians — 50 percent envisions an expansion scheme, which includes building 350 bungalows in the Dead Sea area.
According to Fayez, further investments with Zara might be considered by the SSC in the future.— ( Jordan Times )
By Rana Awwad
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)