Croatian hotel company Istraturist has been sold for nearly 150 million U.S. dollars, setting a record in the country's tourism industry transactions, local media reported on Friday.
Croatian Zagreb Bank (ZABA), the biggest owner of Istraturist, on Thursday completed the transfer of 93 percent of ownership to the Luksic Group, owned by the Chilean-Croatian Luksic family, whose wealth Forbes List estimates on around 16 billion U.S. dollars.
After the purchase, Luksic Group became the biggest tourist company in Croatia managering 16 hotels, villas and apartment resorts with a capacity of 46,000 beds and annual revenue of around 180 million euro (224 million U.S. dollars).
Istraturist has recorded a profit of 11.8 million U.S. dollars in 2013, which was an impressive 53.4 percent rise compared to 2012.
ZABA tried to sell Istraturist for years since their owner, Italian Unicredit Group, issued that all non bank-related business must be sold.
The selling brought positive news for Croatian tourism sector, which will now have bigger companies leading the sector, with a lot of potential for further investment in modernizing the sector in order to compete with strong tourist countries like Greece, Spain and Turkey.
Croatian Tourism Ministry is trying to develop a year-long tourist season with "Croatia 365" project, extending traditionally short, summer-long Croatian tourist season.