Sweden’s First Hotels Joins Forces with Holland’s Belvar to Create Maribel

Date: October 2018

Location: 11 countries in Europe

Names: Currently, the hotels operate under the trademarks First Hotels, Moxy Hotels and Courtyard by Marriott.

(L to R) Mads Jacobsen, Asmund Haare, Rune Firing

No. of Keys: 11,500

Who: The Scandinavian hotel company First Hotels has joined forces with global hotel management company Belvar to conquer Europe. Together, the companies are trading over 200 million euros in turnover, a figure set to double in just two years.

The new Group has been named Maribel and has a threefold and equal ownership between the two owners of Belvar, Mads Jacobsen and Rune Firing, and the founder of First Hotels and the Flying Elephant Group, Asmund Haare.

“The portfolios are very well suited to each other and this is one of the cases where the total value exceeds that of the individual contributing elements,” says CEO of Belvar, Mads Jacobsen.

In the UK alone, Belvar has opened 5 new UK Moxy hotels since December 2016, including the 181 room Moxy Merchant City in Glasgow in November 2018, the 2nd in Scotland (Aberdeen).

The Moxy Glasgow

Over the past few years, Belvar has become a significant European partner for the world’s largest hotel group, Marriott.

The company has signed operational agreements for over 9,000 new rooms in a total of 45 hotels set to open over the next two years.

The new Group will mean that they are now represented in 17 countries. Equally, revenues will rise from two to four billion Norwegian kroner with a clear ambition of continued growth.

Asmund Haare commented; “Mads and Rune have done a great job of building Belvar up to become one of Europe’s most exciting and expansive hotel companies. Together, we will have good coverage across Europe with the company rapidly developing.”

Asmund Haare becomes Chairman of the board in Maribel, whilst Mads Jacobsen, Rune Firing and Simen Haare will become board members. Mads Jacobsen has been announced as CEO in both Maribel and Belvar, whilst Rune Firing continues as Chairman of the board of Belvar.

The European hotel industry is characterised by large and heavy international players. Belvar, which is the Group’s operating company, will enter the top league of European hotel operators after the merger, but will maintain today’s effective organisation.

“Belvar’s organisation is relatively flat and the communication and the chain of command is lean. Despite being a young company with significant geographical coverage, the organisational culture is perceived as tight-knit and solid.

Belvar unquestionably represents the next-generation of hotel operator companies and sets new standards for operations, corporate culture and innovation.” says Asmund Haare.

“One of the great motivations behind the merger is to increase the volume significantly. Not only do we want to improve our competitiveness by benefiting from the economy of scale, but the increase in volume will also act as a door-opener to new markets, both in terms of end customers and in terms of growth in the number of hotels,” says Mads Jacobsen.

Rune Firing adds; “We know that most European hotels are chain-dependent, a position that is becoming increasingly demanding due to the enormous technological development in recent years.

One of our big strengths is that we are brand-independent, which means we can find the brand best suited to the destination, product, and culture.

THPT Comment: A very real new force in Europe, created by this merger.

First Seen: Hospitality & Catering News