Luxury hospitality group Belmond has announced it is considering placing the company up for sale “to enhance shareholder value”.

The brand, which was formerly known as Orient-Express Hotels, encompasses 46 luxury hotel, restaurant, train and river cruise properties in 24 countries. Its most famous properties include the Belmond Cipriani in Venice, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford (pictured) and the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train, as well as the Cadogan in Chelsea, which is due to re-open this year following a refurbishment.

Belmond says its board of directors have initiated a “comprehensive review of strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value”.

Although the company has not said how long the review process will take or what the outcome might be, Roland Hernandez, chairman of the board of directors, has not ruled out the possibility of a sale.

Hernandez said: “The board is committed to pursuing a path that is in the best interests of all Belmond shareholders. Accordingly, we are conducting a robust review of the full range of strategic, operational and financial alternatives available to the company, including a possible sale.

“We have made meaningful progress toward our long-term strategic goals, including growing earnings, increasing brand awareness and expanding our global footprint. We believe that now is the right time to conduct a strategic review process in order to enhance value for our shareholders, given Belmond’s truly exceptional and unique collection of iconic owned properties and strong fundamentals in our markets around the world.”

Belmond has ‘engaged’ Goldman Sachs & Co and JP Morgan Securities LLC as financial advisors, as well as Weil, Gotshal & Mangers LLP as legal advisor to assist in the review.

If the company decides to sell, two major players are the obvious choice for potential investors – Accorhotels and Marriott, the world’s two largest hospitality conglomerates. Accorhotels, particularly, has been buying up luxury and boutique brands across the globe, including Mantra, Mantis, SBE, 21c Museum Hotels, Atton Hoteles and Movenpick.

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