Marriott International would continue expanding in African markets following the acquisition of South Africa’s Protea Hospitality Holdings, the second-largest publicly traded hotel company said yesterday. “We have 25 Marriott brand hotels under construction in seven countries in Africa that will come on stream over the next four years,” Alex Kyriakidis, the chain’s president for the Middle East and Africa, said. The new hotels “are going to bring us into Benin, Gabon, Ghana, Ethiopia and Mauritius. With our existing hotels plus those in the pipeline and those Protea operates we will be in 16 countries in Africa by 2017.” On Tuesday Marriott concluded a deal announced in January to buy Cape Town-based Protea for about $200 million (R2 billion), almost doubling the company’s rooms in Africa to about 23 000. Marriott shares have gained 15 percent this year, valuing it at $16.78bn. – Bloomberg