DLF-Hilton JV hit by regulatory delays

The DLF-Hilton, the joint venture company formed between India’s largest real estate company and world’s largest hotel chain, has been hit by regulatory delays. The first project, The Hilton Garden Inn in New Delhi, which was supposed to have opened in December, is delayed due to local planning consents and license approval. However, Hilton Hotels Corporation, according to a senior official, continues to be committed to its relationship with DLF in India.

Faith Thoms, director of public relations and communication-Asia Pacific, Hilton Hotels said, “The Hilton Garden Inn Saket project was delayed on various regulatory grounds. We are looking forward to opening the property next year. Hilton Hotels Corporation continues to be committed to its relationship with DLF in India.”

DLF, in its clarification filed with the stock exchanges on Tuesday, too said, “For the benefit of the market in general, it is clarified that DLF’s JV with Hilton is on a firm footing and all plans for development of hotels stand as originally envisaged.”

Further Thoms said that the relationship (with DLF) has evolved positively, with an unprecedented 17 hotel projects currently under development. The first hotel under the alliance, the Hilton Garden Inn Saket in Delhi, is scheduled to open in 2009, Thoms added.

On further progress of the joint venture, Thoms said, “Other examples of our progress include ongoing development of the Hilton and the Hilton Residences in Kolkata which amount to 550 rooms, and the Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and the Hilton Garden Inn projects in Dwarka which comprise over 800 rooms.”

“DLF will exercise prudence in build out phase for the hotel business, which could be pushed back by 12-18 months from planned date owing to existing liquidity constraints,” said DLF in its clarification.

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