Iris Capital is one of Australia’s fastest-growing hospitality outfits, and that’s all thanks to Sam Arnaout. However, Arnaout doesn’t plan on stopping there! He has revealed his next step — a complete revamp of a recently purchased Lasseters Hotel Casino in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. He plans to invest $100 million to create a world-class tourism spot.
His Sydney-based company is set to complete the negotiations for the $105 million acquisition of the Alice Springs casino this week. Arnaout’s company will undertake a major transformation for the property to feed the tourism-hungry domestic market and be prepared when the borders open.
Arnaout’s proposed development scheme will also affect residential offerings in Alice Springs, as the locals and the mining community lack residential accommodation.
Lasseters Casino’s long-time owner, the Singapore-listed group Lasseters International Holdings, released the hotel and casino from its ownership after Iris Capital got the regulatory approval from the Northern Territory government. The 7-month process lasted until October 8. This deal sealed Iris Capital’s position as one of Australia’s largest privately-owned property and hospitality groups. The company has more than 30 pubs and 20 hotels, including the 17 Ibis hotels acquired for $178 million.
ANZ Corporate Advisory head, Martin Hanrahan, advised Iris Capital to make the purchase, which included the Alice Springs convention centre. Iris Capital has a major reconstruction planned for the resort, including repositioning the property.
Sam Arnaout said that the company has been negotiating with the Northern Territory government about recapitalising the assets. He added that he plans to take his 25-year knowledge from being in the pub industry and apply it to this project. He also wants to make Lasseters Casino one of his long-term holds.
When it comes to the casino part of the acquisition, Arnaout said that he’s not afraid to take on that project as well. He added that his pubs have over 1,000 gaming machines, meaning that the company is well versed in managing gaming properties. That is why he is eager to take on a bigger project like Lasseters.
Iris Capital has been in the business for a long time, but the last few years brought the company glory, thanks to some very strong property developments. Although the company is taking on such a big project without a financial partner, it is strong enough to carry out the project on its own. However, Lasseters Hotel Casino plans are still subject to government approvals.
Iris Capital has a yearly revenue of $500 million and employs over 1,200 people all over Australia. Over the last 25 years, the group has created $3 billion in enterprise value, thanks to its development and investment activities.