Rani Investment, a Dubai-based investment holding firm for the Aujan Group, has formed a long term strategic partnership agreement with Minor International, a Thailand-based hotel group that owns the Anantara hotel brand and a portfolio of over 10,000 rooms worldwide.

The two organisations have formed a joint venture to rebrand the Indigo Bay Resort & Spa in Mozambique, a five-star 44-villa resort located off the coast of the country, as the Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa, and to place it under the Minor Hotel Group’s management.

The addition to MHG’s portfolio takes the number of properties that it operates to 94 and brings the total number of countries of operation to thirteen, while a company statement added that the agreement includes plans for further expansion in Africa.

Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of the Minor Hotel Group, said: “We are excited to be partnering with Rani Investment and are looking forward to working closely with them to grow our portfolio in Africa, specifically in Mozambique to begin with.

“We are already present in Tanzania and Kenya through our partnership with Elewana Collection and we are keen to expand further into other parts of this vast continent where there is so much untapped opportunity.”

Salim Bitar, CEO of Rani Investment, added: “As we embark on the next phase of our expansion in Africa, we are delighted to be working alongside internationally recognised hospitality brands such as Minor, which will enable us to contribute to and capitalise on the success of the country’s rapidly growing economy.”

Further expansion by the partnership into East Africa will include a mix of new-build and re-brand and will be flagged with MHG’s brands, including Anantara, Avani and also Oaks, a serviced apartment brand that is being expanded into Asia and the Middle East.

Rani Investment alone has more than $300m of dedicated investments in the Middle East and Africa, and is already the largest private hospitality owner-operator in Mozambique, having first established its presence in 1999 under the Rani Resorts name.