Hawaii's Kahala buy demonstrates continued Japanese overseas investment

The 338-room Kahala Hotel & Resort has been sold to Japan-based Resorttrust for $300 million in a deal expected to close late next month. The hotel was acquired from Kahala Hotel Investors.

Perhaps more importantly, it shows how Japanese investment companies have rebounded from the so-called 'Lost Decade' in Japan, when interest rates were raised and many of the loans given out during the period of cheap credit went bad. Credit became difficult to obtain, and Japanese companies were unable to maintain the same levels of investment.

Last December, The Westin Singapore was for USD $369.57 million to Japan-based property developer and investor Daisho Group.

The Kahala was previously owned by Trinity Investments, which bought it in 2005, when at the time it was a Mandarin Oriental hotel. The new owners changed the name in 2006.

As the Pacific Business News reports, the hotel completed a $52-million renovation to its rooms and public areas in 2009. Also, operations at the hotel will remain the same, according to Shawn Sweeney, president and COO of Landmark Hotels Inc., the resort's operator.

"Our current contracts and agreements with our travel partners and with our reservations and marketing partners will continue in effect," he said. "We expect no change to our management and to our services."

In a statement, Resorttrust said it expects that the hotel will bring in approximately $9.7 million per year based on its operating income, it said in a statement.

It added this reason for why it decided to buy the property. "The hotel which we have executed the purchase and sale agreement is a high class resort hotel widely known throughout the world as a hotel which overwhelms the others with an exceptionally high brand power, having the legacy of operating in Hawaii, one of the world’s most famous resort, for over 50 years since its founding and the record of hosting many celebrities.

We decided to acquire the property since we expect that, by including the hotel to our group of hotels, we would be able to provide new values
to our existing customers, contribute to building new customer base, and important role with respect to the future overseas expansions."

Hilton Hotels built the hotel in 1964, and it operated as the Kahala Hilton for decades.