DALLAS – Oct. 6, 1998–Motel 6 has completed an innovative sale leaseback program for a significant number of its properties. This strategy will free up Motel 6’s financial resources, while still retaining management of its properties.
In the program, 288 Motel 6 locations, totaling 33,000 rooms, were sold at a price of $1.1 billion, according to Motel 6 Chief Financial Officer Armand Sebban. Motel 6 took advantage of very positive financial markets in 1998, which included low long-term fixed rates and a large availability of funds. In these asset transactions, Motel 6 still full retained management of its properties. The motels were sold to investors experienced in these type of transactions, such as U.S. Realty, Philip Morris, Norton Herrick, and Sundar.
This program was initiated by Motel 6’s parent company, Accor, a Paris-based company that is one of the world’s largest travel conglomerates. This is a major component of Accor’s Reallocation of Resources strategy.
“The proceeds of the sale and leaseback program put us in a very good financial position and make us ready to take advantage of good opportunities in the marketplace”. This strategy also allows Motel 6 to keep control of its operations and improve the return on capital employed.” Sebban said.
He added: “We completed a very successful sale leaseback program in a relatively short period of time. The positive response we received shows that the U.S. financial market has a great deal of faith in the budget segment of the lodging industry long term, and in Motel 6’s strategy and objectives.”
In the program, leases run for 20 years, with renewal options available. There is fixed rent during the term of the leases. Motel 6 will still continue its franchising plans–opening properties with highly-qualified industry franchisees in selected markets around the country. Motel 6 first began franchising in 1996 and will have close to 100 properties open by early 1999. Prior to that, the 36-year-old company had owned and managed all its properties. Motel 6 is now offering its expertise as an owner and operator to franchisees who want to be part of the Motel 6 family.
Motel 6 also is continuing its systemwide renovation program. So far, 600 of the brand’s more than 770 properties, totaling 55,000 rooms, have been refurbished. All properties will be renovated by the end of 1999, at a total cost of $600 million.
Motel 6’s properties offer free local phone calls and no long distance phone access charges, 24-hour-a-day faxing at the front desk, free morning coffee, free ESPN and HBO, guest laundry, and pools. Motel 6 offers the best price of any major national lodging chain in the budget segment. The brand is in the 12th year of its multi award-winning advertising campaign, featuring Tom Bodett and the famous tagline, “We’ll leave the light on for you.”
The Accor group is a worldwide leader in the travel, tourism and business services industries. Their portfolio includes several well-known hotel brands, Carlson Wagon Lits Travel, Europcar car rental and Accor service vouchers. Accor employs 121,000 people in 142 nations around the world.