Ascendant Project Finance (part of the IMAP SEE team) advises SEIC hotel chain in negotiating a franchising agreement and rising finance for the Residence Inn by Marriott, Sarajevo

Client Background and Objective

Since its inception in 2010, Ascendant Project Finance (APF), that is a part of IMAP SEE, has worked on several major regional projects in the tourism and real estate sectors. One of the most significant projects in Sarajevo, is recently opened Residence Inn by Marriott, where APF acted as brand mediator and investment banker.

The project was significant because Sarajevo was lacking a branded hotel since the Holiday Inn lost its flag in previous years. Prior to the opening of Residence Inn, Sarajevo had been one of the rare European cities without a hotel under the flag of one of the internationally recognized brands. With the opening of the Residence Inn, developed by SEIC Hospitality, Sarajevo has been listed side by side with other major cities.

IMAP Advantage & Approach

The project had a number of successful outcomes. It is a positive foreign direct investment story, where SEIC’s stakeholders recognized the country’s potential to invest in. Furthermore, the project was completed in optimal projected time, under the leadership of local expert team; the design was entrusted to local designers who successfully managed to comply with international standards, etc. Residence Inn by Marriott is the first hotel in the region structured with an international company as a third party operator.

APF's advisory role in the project was to undertake a brand and operation search, and manage the selection and negotiation process. The best match in terms of product and synergy with the owner was a franchise model with a third party operator. As a result of the search and selection process, the Marriott with Residence Inn brand was selected to flag the hotel and Interstate Hotels & Resorts to manage the hotel.

Outcome & Impact

APF had a dual role in the project – two parallel tasks – one being the selection of the operation model and the other, to ensure the overall success of the project until its completion by securing the project financing.

SEIC introduced APF to the project at an early stage, when APF took over the advisory role. In November 2013, SEIC signed the Franchise and Management Agreement with Marriott and Interstate Hotels & Resorts. In the first quarter of 2014, SEIC and APF secured financing for the project.

APF is pleased to have played a major role in the successful completion such a significant project in the regional hospitality and tourism sector.


Jurgis Oniunas
+385 14921429