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AER LINGUS AGREES TO SELL NEW YORK HOTEL FOR $83.5 MILLION

     AER LINGUS AGREES TO SELL NEW YORK HOTEL FOR $83.5 MILLION
    NEW YORK, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Aer Lingus today announced that agreement had been reached for the sale of the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel in New York City.  The hotel is being sold to Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. of Hong Kong for $83.5 million.  Wharf, which purchased the Dunfey/Omni chain from Aer Lingus in June 1988, has been managing the Berkshire Place on behalf of Aer Lingus.
    Aer Lingus said that the sale of the Berkshire Place was in line with its strategic policy to concentrate its hotel interests in Europe, through the development of its wholly owned subsidiary, the Copthorne Hotel chain.
    A spokesperson for Aer Lingus said that the sale was the final phase in the company's plan to divest itself of hotel interests in the United States.  "It brings to a very satisfactory conclusion the company's involvement in the hotel business in the United States.  Substantial profits have accrued to the Aer Lingus Group through the current transaction and the 1988 sale of the Dunfey/Omni hotels," he said.  "A significant portion of the profit arising from these sales is being used to further develop the Copthorne chain, with the balance applied to overall group financing," the spokesperson added.
    The Copthorne chain, which Aer Lingus bought from British Caledonian Airways in 1987, currently consists of 14 four-star hotels, 11 of which are in Britain and one each in Paris, Brussels and the Gambia.  Since the chain was acquired by Aer Lingus, major expansion has taken place and the number of bedrooms has been increased by over 45 percent.
    Further expansion is planned with a new 242-bedroom hotel due to open in Roissy near Charles de Gaulle Airport in July.  Another 138- bedroom property is currently under construction in Merry Hill in the English West Midlands.  These new hotels will bring the total number of beds in the Copthorne Group to 3,320.  The Aer Lingus Hotels Division produced a profit of $21 million for the year ended March 1991.
    -0-         1/16/92
    /CONTACT:  Jim Lyndon of Aer Lingus, 212-557-1090/ CO:  Aer Lingus ST:  New York IN:  AIR SU:  TNM FC-CK -- NY053 -- 0520 01/16/92 12:32 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 16, 1992
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