Benson Elliot checks out of Côte d’Azur hotel investment

Benson Elliot Capital Management, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, announces the sale of the Sophia Country Club (“SCC”), its 4-star hotel in the South of France, to Eren Group, advised by Europrestim Management. Eren Group will take over the SCC hotel activity and will set up the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy with the assistance of Europrestim Management as project manager. The disposal has been made on behalf of Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners III (the “Fund”).

SCC is a popular business and leisure hotel in Sophia-Antipolis, in the French Riviera. Strategically situated less than fifteen minutes from Nice International Airport and the Cannes seafront, SCC is the hotel of choice in Sophia-Antipolis – France’s “Silicon Valley” – serving a multi-national business community of over 30,000.

Benson Elliot acquired SCC off-market in November 2011, following which it undertook a comprehensive six month programme to upgrade and enhance the hotel’s facilities, and generate new income streams from the leisure and sporting segments. The hotel was re-launched in June 2012 boasting 155 modern hotel rooms, 900 sqm of conference space, a high quality restaurant, and leisure and sports facilities. These include a state of the art spa centre and 20 ATP-standard tennis courts which have hosted top players such as Novak Djokovic, Justine Henin, Dinara Safina and Caroline Wozniacki.

Commenting on the disposal, Trish Barrigan, Senior Partner of Benson Elliot, said:

“The Sophia Country Club has been an outstanding investment for Benson Elliot. It exemplifies the kind of opportunity that appeals to us: an undermanaged asset where we can use our sector expertise and financing skills to create a dominant product with broad appeal. Despite the improvement in Europe’s investment markets, underlying performance remains polarised. As such, we continue to encounter situations where we can buy opportunistically, execute effectively, and create substantial value.”

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