Hotel family sells off ‘life’s work’

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Norwegian hotel magnate Jan E Rivelsrud and his family announced Tuesday that they’ve agreed to sell their Rica Hotel chain to Scandic Hotels for an undisclosed amount. The Rivelsruds are hanging on, though, to the hotel properties in which they hold ownership interests.

Norwegian hotel magnate Jan E. Rivelsrud (left) has agreed to sell his family's Rica hotel chain to Scandic, led by Frank Fiskers (right). PHOTO: Kaja Bruskeland

Norwegian hotel magnate Jan E. Rivelsrud (left) has agreed to sell his family’s Rica hotel chain to Scandic, led by Frank Fiskers (right). PHOTO: Kaja Bruskeland

Rica has long been one of Norway’s major hotel chains, with 48 owned hotels and 24 franchise operations in Norway and Sweden. Included among them are the prestigious Holmenkollen Park Hotel in Oslo, the Rica Ishavshotel in Tromsø and the Rica Nidelven Hotel in Trondheim. Rica also operates the Grand Hotel in Oslo, but it’s owned by real estate developer Christian Ringnes.

The Rivelsrud family said it will continue to own Rica Eiendom Holding, which has a real estate portfolio consisting of 22 hotels plus other property. Rica’s own hotel operations have around 3,000 employees.

Scandic is the Nordic area’s biggest hotel chain with 151 hotels in eight countries and around 10,000 employees. Jan Rivelsrud stated that he thinks Rica and Scandic complement each other geographically and together can offer hotel guests more choices.

The Rica-run hotels will eventually be converted to Scandic Hotels, under terms of the deal, but the integration process won’t begin before the deal wins approval from competition authorities in Norway and Sweden.

The Rica acquisition “will lift Scandic to a new level in the Nordic hotel market,” said Scandic chief executive Frank Fiskers in a prepared statement. “We strengthen our portfolio with the well-known Rica hotels in attractive locations, and guests can soon choose between 223 hotels in the entire Nordic region.”

Scandic currently has just 19 of its 151 hotels in Norway, to which it can now add Rica’s 65 Norwegian hotels. The company also plans to open four new hotels in Norway.

Rivelsrud said that for him, and his family, the time was simply right to sell after what he claimed were 44 years of profitable operations. “We have found a good harbour and partner for Rica,” he said. “Rica is strong in Norway, while Scandic has its strength in the other Scandinavian countries.”

Scandic will now lease the hotels owned through Rivelsrud’s real estate division.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund