NEW YORK, Aug 2: More than a dozen major real estate companies have made initial bids for Pakistan Airlines Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, the highest bid being $225 million. The final sale process is expected to take place in October of this year.

A spokesman for PIA investments, Managing-Director Aslam R. Khan, said on Saturday that at the conclusion of the first round of the sale process those real estate firms not meeting the pre-qualification process were eliminated and they would not participate in the final process in which the best offers would be called for.

However, it was not clear whether the PIA and its Saudi partners would make any profit from the sale if the highest reported bid of $225 million is accepted. Asked about this, Privatization Secretary Ahmed Waqar said making that calculation was not part of the Roosevelt task force. “Our job was to bring the process to fruition, which we have done.”

However, he said: “I am sure when the final bids come in, the financial investment experts will figure it out whether the price is acceptable given the present market conditions and trends in the United States.”

The Roosevelt Hotel has liabilities in excess of $70 million, which includes loans from banks to upgrade and renovate the hotel which at one time was losing $8 million a year until 1995. The hotel lost some $90 million until the PIA investments team took over the renovation process.

The hotel is now running at 90 per cent capacity, the only drop in occupancy rate occurred immediately after the attacks on the US landmarks on Sept 11.

Big names in real estate in New York City, including developer millionaire Donald Trump, had indicated their interest in buying the hotel which is in the heart of Manhattan.

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