Saudi sovereign wealth fund takes 49% stake in Rocco Forte’s luxury hotel empire

Saudi sovereign wealth fund takes 49% stake in Rocco Forte's luxury hotel empire

The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has acquired a 49% stake in Rocco Forte Hotels.

This deal puts the value of the luxury hotel group at £1.4 billion, inclusive of debt, according to the Financial Times.

The move marks a significant expansion phase for the group, which includes the renowned Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh. The Forte family, led by Sir Rocco Forte, retains majority ownership and control.

The investment by PIF, also a stakeholder in Aman Resorts and Heathrow Airport, will provide primary equity to fuel the hotel brand’s growth in global markets. This move is part of PIF’s strategy to diversify investments away from fossil fuels, focusing on the robust hospitality and tourism sector.

Rocco Forte Hotels, established in 1996 by Sir Rocco Forte and his sister Olga Polizzi, currently operates 14 hotels and resorts, with more openings planned in Milan, Sardinia, and Dubai. The group’s expansion under the Forte family, including key roles for Sir Rocco’s children, has been supported by CDPE Investimenti, which is now exiting its 23% stake.

The deal, subject to regulatory approval, aligns with PIF’s long-term investment vision, mirroring the Forte family’s ambition for the brand. PIF’s involvement is expected to double the hotel group’s portfolio over the next five years, with a focus on the Middle East.

Sir Rocco Forte, executive chairman of Rocco Forte Hotels, said: “PIF is an excellent partner for us going forward. We have established an extremely good relationship during the course of our negotiations.

“They share the same vision for the brand and the future strategy of the group with the same ambition to take a long-term view. I look forward to working with PIF to expand the group and improve the high level of service we offer our customers.

“We thank CDPEI for having shared the past fruitful eight years during which we both successfully accomplished the mission we shared when we started the journey, having significantly enhanced the value of the company and increased the group’s presence in Italy and across Europe.”

Turqi Al Nowaiser, deputy governor and head of international investments division at PIF, said: “Our investment in Rocco Forte Hotels reflects PIF’s confidence in both the commercial opportunity and strength of the international hospitality and tourism industries that have shown remarkable resilience in recent years.

“As active long-term investors, PIF will continue to invest strategically in promising sectors to achieve sustainable returns globally.”

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