In December 2014 it was announced that Umubano Hotel is set to be sold over misunderstandings between shareholders of SOPROTEL Company which manages it.
The stakeholders are the government of Rwanda and Libya.
Since then, Umubano Hotel has not yet got a buyer despite several visits from potential individuals.
Emmanuel Butare, a lawyer who was commissioned by the court to create an inventory of the hotel and monitor the receivership has told IGIHE that the hotel has not yet found a buyer but, he said, they are holding discussions with potential buyers.
“The hotel has not yet been bought. We are still looking for a buyer,” he said.
It was said the four-star Umubano Hotel has been highly priced, repelling away some of the potential buyers.
Butare explained that some clients withdraw their stake of buying the hotel as soon as they hear of the terms and conditions.
He said that they are holding discussions with two interested buyers while two others are getting the requirements in order.
Why for sale
Hotel Umubano was built when Col. Muammar Gaddafi was the president of Libya. Libya government promised Rwanda to keep investing in Umubanmo Hotel after the death of Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
According to information IGIHE has obtained from credible sources who have insider information of shareholders, the government of Libya had accepted to revamp Umubano Hotel to make it a five-star hotel but did not fulfill the promise. It is said that negotiations were held for ten years but failed till the case was transferred to courts.
The court accepted to float SOPROTEL Company in which the government of Rwanda has 40% shares and 60% for Libya.
In a press briefing of February, 2014, Lawyer Butare Emmanuel said that Umubano hotel was up for sale in not more than six months.
Butare said that it is not easy to tell when buyers will be found.
“ It is hard to know when Umubano Hotel will be bought. When you are discussing with buyers it is not easy to establish when they will take the final decision,” he said.
Hotel of many names
Activities of constructing Umubano Hotel were launched by SOPROTEL in 1977 and started operating in 1979 with the name of Hotel Umubano Meridien till April 1994 when it was managed by French people who already owned a Groupe Meridien.
Between 1994 and 1997, the name was modified to Hotel Umubano and was since then managed by owners SOPROTEL; between 1998 and 2000 Hotel Umubano changed the name to be called ‘Windsor International Umubano’ and was managed by an experienced international company in hotel management ‘Windsor International’; between 2001 and 2008 it was named Novotel Umubano Kigali and managed by Group Accord which manages over 4000 hotels across the world.
Five star hotels managed by Group Accord are called Sofitel while a four star hotel managed by this group are named Novotel which was the reason Hotel Umubano got the name of Novotel Umubano Kigali.
Between 2009, 2010 and2011 Umubano Hotel was named Laico Umubano Hotel and managed by Laico which is based in Tunis capital of Tunisia.
It regained its name of Hotel Umubano in 2011 and managed by owners.
Hotel Umubano is built on the land of more than four hectares.
It is said that selling Hotel Umubano doesn’t affect service delivery at the hotel and its employees since activities continue as usual.