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Peninsula forays into Europe

HONG KONG, Jan 21 – The company behind the Peninsula, one of Asia\’s most prestigious hotel groups, has announced it will develop a new destination in Paris, its first foray into the European market.

Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd (HSH) said it had signed a deal with the Qatar Investment Authority worth $128 million and will develop the site of the former Majestic Hotel in the French capital.

Michael Kadoorie, chairman of HSH, said the new hotel would follow the launch of a Peninsula hotel in Tokyo in 2007 and the Peninsula Shanghai later this year.

"We hope that The Peninsula Paris will bring a new level of distinction to the Paris luxury hotel market," Kadoorie said in a statement released late on Tuesday.

"It is housed in a historic, magnificent building which will be a very special experience for our guests."

Work on the new project is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2009 and it is hoped the hotel will open in mid-2012.

Under the deal, HSH will take a 20 percent stake in a subsidiary of Qatari Diar, which owns the property on Avenue Kleber.

Qatari Diar is the real estate arm of the Qatar Investment Authority, the country\’s state-owned investment vehicle.

The building was originally constructed and opened in 1908 as the Majestic Hotel and is currently used as the Centre International de Conferences by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the statement said.

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HSH will commit another 50 million euros in renovation costs, and will manage the property for 30 years with an option to extend another 20, the statement said.

The new hotel will have 200 guestrooms and suites, the statement added.

The Peninsula hotel is one of Hong Kong\’s most well-known buildings and has become a byword for luxury since it opened in 1928, including its own fleet of Rolls Royce limousines in a unique green livery.

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