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London and Paris in its sights
Japanese company Okura Hotels is stepping up its search for properties in London and Paris.
The five star chain, which has only one European property in Amsterdam, is also targeting New York for expansion.
Marcel van Aelst, general manager of the Okura Amsterdam and an executive director of the company, said in London today (July 7) said the group was negotiating for a property in London.
He told a press briefing that the group probably could not afford to buy a property in London but would be happy to sign a management deal.
"We would certainly invest to get the right property but we are looking for a management agreement in," he said.
Mr van Aelst said Okura had bid for the Cafe Royal in Regent Street, London when it came on the market but a decision needed to be made too quickly for his company's directors.
It was now looking again in London as well as Paris and New York but he said he could not say how long before a suitable property was found.
Okura has 17 properties in Japan and five outside the country, one in China, two in South Korea, one in Hawaii and one in The Netherlands. This last one was opened in1971 and is fully owned by the company.
It is also the largest shareholder in the Leading Hotels of the World organisation.
Mr Aelst said the company would open three more hotels in the next three years, the first in Taiwan this September, the second in Macau in China in2010 and the third in Taipei, also in Taiwan, in 2012.