08th May 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com
Bangkok-based Minor International is looking to buy or build beach resorts in Sri Lanka, after the island emerged from a 30-year war and prospects for tourism brightened, a media report said.
Minor, which runs 'Anantara' branded hotels is Thailand's biggest hotel and fast food chain operator.
"We are now more optimistic about the potential in Sri Lanka," Chief Executive Officer William Heinecke was quoted as saying by Bloomberg newswires while on visit to Sri Lanka.
"Our focus is around the Indian Ocean, and we do have a substantial budget approved for expanding. We see good returns in Sri Lanka."
Minor is building its fourth resort in the Maldives. In 2007, Minor bought 20 percent of Sri Lanka's Serendib Hotels.
Heinecke said they were considering investing in properties in the southern and eastern coasts.
Following the end of the war with Tamil Tiger separatists, interest has been renewed especially in Sri Lanka's east coast, parts of which was under Tiger control during the war.
Minor also operates hotels in Thailand under the Marriott and Four Seasons brands and runs Thai franchises for Burger King Swensens, Pizza Company and Coffee Club.
Bloomberg quoted Heinecke as saying that "preliminary discussions" were held on developing restaurant brands.